Owner Thane Mallory prepares "New Brunswick's Most Expensive French Fries," at Gulliver's World Cafe in Gagetown, N.B., June 8, 2016. (Photo: Stephen MacGillivray/The Canadian Press)
GAGETOWN, N.B. — An East Coast chef has made a luxury item of the humble french fry, triple-cooking it in imported goose fat, serving with his own merlot ketchup and available by reservation only for a cool $12.99 per serving.
Chef Thane Mallory of New Brunswick — a province that calls itself the french fry capital of the world — eschews the locally produced McCain fries served by many restaurants in favour of russet potatoes he hand-cuts himself.
He says the goose fat, imported from France, adds a distinctive flavour to potatoes fried three times at different temperatures, but it's the long prep time that drives up the price.
"Process-wise you end up peeling them, you have to wash all the starch off them, once you've washed all the starch off them, you have to dry them. Once you've dried them, then you have to triple fry them," he said.
A container of goose fat used making in "New Brunswick's Most Expensive French Fries," is shown at Gulliver's World Cafe, June 8, 2016. (Photo: Stephen MacGillivray/The Canadian Press)
They are first fried at 320 degrees to infuse some of the goose fat into the fries. Then another bath in the hot fat at 365 degrees and a final dip at 370 degrees. Each time they gain more colour and become more crispy.
Mallory got much of his culinary training in France, where he said goose is regularly served for special occasions.
"They end up rendering down the fat and the fat is just delicious. That's why gravy tastes so good on your chicken. It's not because it is gravy. It's because it has fat in it. Fat equals flavour."
He said the flavour of the goose fat is not enough to overpower the taste of the potatoes.
Mallory opened the small Gulliver's World Cafe overlooking the St. John River in the village of Gagetown in November.
He said his brother-in-law told him he wouldn't eat at a restaurant that didn't serve french fries, so he decided to give fries a gourmet twist, and they've been a big hit.
An order of "New Brunswick's Most Expensive French Fries," is shown at Gulliver's World Cafe in Gagetown, N.B., June 8, 2016. (Photo: Stephen MacGillivray/The Canadian Press)
And what would French fries be without ketchup?
Mallory makes his own ketchup with a Merlot reduction in it, and lots of locally grown garlic.
"Traditionally homemade ketchups are made with brown sugar, but we substitute the brown sugar and put Crosby's molasses in it, because New Brunswick has a molasses palate," he said.
The fries are also seasoned with Windsor Sea Salt and imported Fleur de sel.
"People love the fries."
Mallory said his restaurant has been busy, and people have offered to go into business with him if he'd be willing to bottle his ketchup for sale.
"People love the fries. They love the creaminess and when you dip it into the ketchup it gives you all the flavour that you're looking for," Mallory said.
He says it is enjoyable to do what you want in your home province, and to build a menu around New Brunswick ingredients like russet potatoes, fiddleheads and apples.
"It's extremely satisfying because you're doing what a chef is supposed to do and that is taking local ingredients and amplifying that local ingredient no matter what it is," he said.