News & Events

The Humble Potato Chip:  What’s going on?

The Humble Potato Chip: What’s going on?

March 3, 2020

In the recent past, we decided to convert our cafe and restaurant into being 100 percent organic, because in addition to the nutritional benefits of organic produce, it’s also GMO free and free from toxic chemicals. So yes it does taste different, it tastes natural! In our opinion, organic food not only helps the body to heal, it also tastes significantly better.

So, you can imagine our surprise when during the recent holiday season (2019 / 2020) the humble hot potato chip caused controversy and provoked negative reviews on social media.  Some feedback received was that the hot chips tasted different or were darker than “real” chips.  Why?  Because the hot chips didn’t look or necessarily taste like chips you are served in both fast food outlets and cafes.

We knew that the final colour and taste of the organic hand-cut chip varied depending on the type of local organic potato variety available at any given time of the year.  However, were there other factors at play? We decided to conduct our own experiment.

Materials and methods

Prior to our change to organic produce, we cooked pre-cut frozen steak fries in cottonseed oil.  Today, we cook fresh hand-cut chips (made on-site from local Tasmanian organic potatoes) in organic sunflower oil.  Given this, there are two key things to test: 1) fresh organic potato chips vs frozen steak fries; and 2) organic sunflower oil vs cottonseed oil.

Deep Fryer #1: CottonSeed Oil Deep Fryer # 2: Organic Sunflower Oil
Steak Fries Steak Fries
Organic Chip Organic Chip

Equipment and produce used:

  • pre-cut frozen steak fries (“Steak Fries”)
  • fresh hand-cut organic chips (“Organic Chips”)
  • cottonseed oil
  • organic sunflower seed oil
  • two commercial deep fryers,
  • hand-chipper
  • four frying baskets.

Fries / chip ingredients:

  • fresh hand-cut organic chips, cut from 100% local Tasmanian organic potatoes
  • pre-cut frozen steak fries as per label: 96.8% potato, 3.2% palm oil, dextrose[1], pre-fried (other ingredients present were below the threshold required for labelling).

Preparation

Both commercial fryers were completely emptied.  One deep fryer was then filled with cotton seed oil, and the other deep fryer was filled with organic sunflower oil.  The oil was then heated to the same temperature (note: cottonseed oil has a smoking point of 216 degrees Celsius and sunflower oil has a smoking point of 232 degrees Celsius).

Pre-cut frozen steak fries were sourced.  Local Tasmanian organic potatoes were sourced, and hand-cut on-site to approximately the same size as the frozen steak fries.

Two frying baskets were then filled with Steak Fries and the remaining two baskets were filled with organic Chips.  One frying basket of the Steak Fries was placed in the cottonseed oil and the other placed in the organic sunflower oil.  Similarly, one frying basket of Organic Chips was placed in the cottonseed oil and the other in the organic sunflower oil.

All four frying baskets were then cooked at the same time, for the same duration.  Notice the frothing that occurs on the Steak Fries when cooking.

Deep Fryer #1
Cottonseed oil
Deep Fryer #2
Organic Sunflower Oil
Steak Fries | Organic ChipsSteak Fries | Organic Chips

Results

The Steak Fries were the same colour regardless of which oil they were cooked in.  The Organic Chips were also the same colour regardless of which oil they were cooked in.  This finding is expected given that the cooking temperature of both oils used in this experiment were similar.

However, as can be seen in the below picture, the colour of the Steak Fries compared to the Organic Chips was different.  The Steak Fries were much whiter and typical of the hot chips that consumers are used to purchasing. This is interesting given that most foods darken to some degree when cooked.

In regard to taste, the Steak Fries had little or no taste and needed to be dowsed in salt to provide ‘flavour’.  In contrast the Organic Chips had a lot of flavour.  The taste of the Organic Chip was also cleaner. 

These results are consistent with results obtained elsewhere.  In fact, an article written by Science Daily, directly identifies that due to consumer preferences, conventional potatoes are being genetically modified and grown with an added enzyme to keep them white when they are fried.  In other words, an enzyme has been added to prevent the natural chemical reaction that leads to colour change.  Wow! Wow! And Wow Again!

Deep Fryer #1
Cottonseed oil
Deep Fryer #2
Organic Sunflower Oil
Steak Fries | Organic ChipsSteak Fries | Organic Chips

It is also worth noting that conventional mass produced potatoes are usually:

  • grown in nutrient deficient soil (due to lack of crop rotation); and
  • sprayed with so many chemical that they make the “dirty dozen” list of fruit and vegetables (released annually)

This impacts the potato because being a root vegetable the plant sucks up all of the chemicals that are in the soil, these chemicals make their way into the flesh of the potato and therefore can’t simply be washed or cut out. 

In addition to this, unless stated to be non GMO potatoes are genetically modified and where the hot potato chip is concerned, may be further altered using other ingredients to assist with taste and crisping e.g. dextrose.

Therefore, as a consumer, if you eat conventionally grown potatoes, you are probably ingesting toxic chemicals from a genetically modified species that has lower nutritional value. This is all done by producers with the aim of meeting the worlds food demands. However, whilst this mis-directed approach to food production gives you a product that “appears” more pleasant with an increased shelf life; it unfortunately may be a contributing factor to the increase in chronic degenerative disorders. Are you serious? Unfortunately, we are.

As a food business operating inside a pristine World Heritage Area, we are committed to ensuring that our customers are also provided with the cleanest and most nutritious produce we can source.

We acknowledge that may mean re-educating consumers, and potentially retraining some tastebuds, but at the end of the day our health is our wealth.

In conclusion

If you want to know what real potato tastes like, then please visit us and try our hot chips (skin on), boxty, sarladaise, mashed potato or even baked potato, all lovingly grown and developed by Mother Nature.



[1] Dextrose is a type of simple sugar which is derived from corn

Savour A Taste of Tasmania

Savour A Taste of Tasmania

January 1, 2020

Do you have a hankering for great food in the pure Tasmanian Wilderness?

Why not come and visit us at Lake St Clair Lodge, where you can kick back, relax and savour the Taste of Tasmania.

For the month of January, indulge in fresh local organic produce cooked to order by our Executive Chef in Residence, Jonas Williams.

Have a penchant for something unique to Lake St Clair? Whilst here you can also, stimulate your taste-buds with our very own “Trapper & Miggins” gin, wine or beer exclusive to Lake St Clair Lodge.

Restaurant, Bar, Cafe – Extended Hours through Summer Period

Restaurant, Bar, Cafe – Extended Hours through Summer Period

December 12, 2017

Fergy’s Bar & Restaurant and the Hungry Hikers Cafe, is open seven days a week from 7am to 10pm.

With a fresh new menu, we are proud to be presenting some of Tasmania’s finest produce.

So, why not visit the heart of Tasmania and spend a night or two relaxing beside Australia’s deepest lake.

That’s right!  Even on:

  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day
  • New Years Eve
  • New Years Day
  • Australia Day

Be sure to check out our upcoming performance calendar Music at the Lodge and catch the soft tones of a local Tasmanian artist too.

Restaurant Bookings are recommended.  Book Now!

GB Balding performs live at the Lodge

GB Balding performs live at the Lodge

February 2, 2016

This Sunday night, we proudly present GB Balding.  Recognised as one of Tasmania’s finest Country Blues musicians. He can be seen playing locally in Hobart at the Republic and at festivals.

Using both standard and bottleneck guitar, GB plays in the style of Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Blake, Rev Gary Davis and Leon Redbone.

Why not come and see this talented artist perform live this Sunday night.

Typically held on Friday or Saturday evening our Live Music Nights in the Lodge Restaurant and Bar are very popular.

Check out photos of ‘Music at the Lodge’

Tasmanian Roadtrips

January 1, 2016

Motorhome Republic is a local Aussie business and the global leader in campervan hire, operating in 28 countries around the world.  You can check out their suggested itinerary for Tasmanian roadtrips that include a stay at Lake St Clair Lodge (or Lake St Clair Tourist Park) on their website.

Welcome Chef Andri

Welcome Chef Andri

December 12, 2015

Lake St Clair Lodge warmly welcomes Chef Andri to our team.  Born in Singapore, Chef Andri attended SHATEC, where many of the best chefs are trained.

Over the years, Chef Andri’s passion for food and cooking led him to explore different cooking methods and cuisines. Working alongside famous chefs such as Giacomo Gallina and Roberto Galetti, he fell in love with Italian cuisine and all that it has to offer.  Chef Andri has excelled in the Italian way of cooking including pastas, to the Italian way of life and  the use of quality fresh produce.

Throughout his career, Chef Andri has guided many kitchen chefs with much passion and humility.  We are now truly humbled to have such a great chef join our team and to be able to present his passion to our guests.

Restaurant Bookings are recommended.  Book Now!

Restaurant, Bar & Cafe : Open All Through The Holiday Period From 8am til Late

Restaurant, Bar & Cafe : Open All Through The Holiday Period From 8am til Late

December 12, 2014

Did you know Lake St Clair Lodge is open for the entire holiday season? So, why not visit the heart of Tasmania and spend a night or two relaxing beside Australia’s deepest lake.

Lake St Clair Lodge, The Hungry Hikers Cafe and Fergy’s Bar and Restaurant will be open from 8am until late, throughout.

That’s right!  Even on:

  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day
  • New Years Eve
  • New Years Day
  • Australia Day

Be sure to check out our upcoming performance calendar Music at the Lodge and catch the soft tones of a local Tasmanian artist too.

Restaurant Bookings are recommended.  Book Now!

Ross Sermons performs live at the Lodge

Ross Sermons performs live at the Lodge

November 11, 2014

This Sunday night, we proudly present Ross Sermons.   With a lifetime’s experience in the tradition of folk, authentic blues and
Americana. His vast, multi-genre repertoire is played with accomplished bottleneck slide and fingerpicking built on blues and roots, and delivered with generosity, enthusiasm and charm.

An international artist from American, Ross Sermons has relocated to Tasmania.  Why not come and see this talented artist perform live this Sunday night.

Typically held on Friday or Saturday evening our Live Music Nights in the Lodge Restaurant and Bar are very popular.

Check out photos of ‘Music at the Lodge’

AVEDA guest amenities

AVEDA guest amenities

November 11, 2014

AVEDA is a well known international hair & skin care brand, which is built on environmental responsibility. AVEDA’s mission is to “strive to set an example for environmental leadership and responsibility, not just in the world of beauty, but around the world.”

Furthermore, AVEDA puts particular emphasis on their products only being supplied to hotels and resorts which comply to a certain environmental standards, which they independently verify and confirm.

We are proud to say that Lake St Clair Lodge easily demonstrated it’s commitment to protecting the environment and caring for the world we live in.

So – we now have AVEDA products as in-room guest amenities.

Enjoy!

 

Lake St Clair Lodge achieves membership with Small Elegant Hotels of the World

Lake St Clair Lodge achieves membership with Small Elegant Hotels of the World

November 11, 2014

Well, it was bound to happen eventually.  We’ve done it!

Lake St Clair Lodge is a proud member of Small Elegant Hotels of the World.