We've all heard the word "pivot" thrown around during this period of isolation around Australia. But how do you pivot when the Instagram account you run relies on eating chips in an array of cafes and restaurants around Melbourne?
You turn to frozen chips, that's how.
Mip's Chips has been around for seven years and has gained a following of more than 6,000 over that time. Each follower hanging on Mips' every word to find out where to get their hands on the best chips in town.
We recently caught up with Mips to have a chat about frozen chips, and just chips in general. Never a bad conversation to have.
When did you start Mip's Chips, and why?
I started Mip’s Chips in 2013 to combine my two favourite things: chips and talking shit.
Instagram had a tonne of Melbourne burger pages but no one was giving their loyal fried sidekicks the attention they deserved. The Melbourne chip scene had plenty to offer and it was about time chips got out of the shadow of burgers and took the spotlight.
It didn’t take long for people to start sending in recommendations so I thought if the people are trusting me to find the best chips in town, that’s what I’ll do. It was a lucky coincidence (or perhaps fate!) that my nickname and favourite food rhymed.
How many serves of chips do you think you've eaten over the journey?
I’m up to my 467th chip review and no I don’t want to think about how many years that’s taken off my life.
Currently my ‘chips in iso’ series has me eating chips nearly every day so I’ve had to get pretty creative to keep it interesting. It’s been eggs on chips for breakfast (this is a vibe), curry and chips for lunch, I even tried mashed chips for dinner with a particularly soggy batch.
Hint: they were still shit.
What's the best serve of chips you've had?
My all-time favourite chip is Heston’s thrice cooked in beef fat, but I only got about six chips for $18 so I wasn't too thrilled about that.
What's the weirdest serve of chips you've had?
Unsurprisingly America is home to the most unusual chips. I’ve tried everything from smores fries and apple pie fries to bao fries and even a chip pizza.
The world definitely needs more chip pizzas.
Do you think there was complacency among the chip serving community before COVID? Do you think that will change when things somewhat go back to normal?
There was probably complacency in all businesses pre-COVID, chipmakers and otherwise.
Melbourne has a thriving and resilient food scene so I have faith that restaurants will bounce back with plenty of fresh ideas and when they do, we’ll all be there ready to eat our fresh-out-of-iso feelings.
Of course if any restaurants need guidance in the chip department I am happy to be of service!
To use an on-trend word, you've pivoted to reviewing frozen chips during the pandemic, which are the best frozen chips in your opinion so far?
I’ve never been much of a frozen anything fan (except ice cream of course) but I pivoted because there are too many uncontrollable variables when ordering chips via takeaway so my reviews wouldn't be fair.
It’s still early days but since setting my sights on the freezer aisle Aldi has had the most impressive chips so far. The Seasons Pride sea salt and rosemary are my current fave but I still have a freezer full of spuds to test so that’s very likely to change.
What can frozen chip makers take from this, where can they improve?
They should stop trying so hard! Focus less on gimmicky flavours and get back to basics: good crunchy shell, soft steamy interior and real flavour—I’m talking spices not artificial junk.
Chicken salt or regular salt?
Chicken salt, always.
Crunchy or soggy chips?
Crunchy a million times over. If I wanted soggy chips I'd eat mashed potato.
What has been the most contentious issue throughout your ‘chips in iso’ journey?
My method of cooking. The angry air fryer mob have been very vocal with their cooking preference but the deep fryer will always be my weapon of choice.
If a chip can’t reach its full potential after a hot bath of oil what hope does it stand after being circulated with hot air?
What’s next for Mip’s Chips once life returns to normal?
I’m working on a Mip’s Chips website to bring Melbourne the ultimate chip guide, which should be live by the time restaurants open properly again.
Since we won’t be travelling overseas anytime soon I also plan to embark on the Great Aussie Chip Trip and find the best chip our country has to offer. It’s a small way I can contribute to COVID and fire-affected businesses and should be a hoot. Now taking recommendations for the best Aussie chip!
Check out Mip's Chips on Instagram here.
Image credit: YOMG