Q+A with a 15-Year Deep Fry Veteran: “Don’t Get Burned.”


Stubble: What’s the secret to deep frying?
Eric: Well I don’t know if there’s any real secret here. “Don’t get burned” would be the best advice I’d give on that.

Stubble: Anything to help actually fry the things well? Cooking-wise?
Eric: Keep the oil hot. Don’t get burned and move the product around.

Stubble: How long have you been deep frying?
Eric: Oh jeez. Probably about 15 years, easily.

Stubble: Do you remember the first time you ever deep fried?
Eric: Actually, yeah. Coincidentally it was tortilla chips because my first restaurant was at a Mexican restaurant.

Stubble: What kind of instruction were you given on that very first time?
Eric: Don’t get burned. I was probably too young to be using one of those fryers actually.

Stubble: What’s the learning curve like for deep fryers. They say if you do something for 10,000 hours you become a master. Since the first and the second time and now approaching 10,000, do you feel a difference? A mastery?
Eric: Really, 10,000, that’s it? It’s almost hard to explain how to do this because it’s almost second nature for me. Like, teaching someone isn’t really in my vocabulary in the sense of frying these things. But it’s probably not as easy as it looks.

Stubble: What do you think about when you’re deep frying? When you’re on a deep frying bender?
Eric: On a bender? I’m usually thinking about when I can get the hell away from this deep fryer. That’s the next thing I’m thinking about. Also all of the salsa I have to make.

Stubble: Doesn’t sound like you have a very good relationship with your deep fryer.
Eric: We don’t. We don’t work well together, we hate each other actually. I’m pretty sure of that.

Stubble: Now I notice a big part of the deep frying is the shaking when you pull stuff out of the oil.
Eric: Well the shaking is just to keep the stuff off the walls of the side of the basket. Mostly used with chicken and fish, that’s when you want to shake.

Stubble: You were saying earlier you had some strategies to maybe decrease how often you had to fry stuff.
Eric: I’m prepared to start doing a bad job soon and then maybe I won’t have to deep fry so much. You can’t set the bar too high or you get taken advantage of.

Stubble: I was thinking you would have developed a kind of zen after doing this task so much.
Eric: It’s just very repetitive. It’s a repetitive job.

Eric Haas is half of St. Paul-based Haas Brothers Salsa.


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