Naughty frozen chip users

A certain part of the editorial team is horrified at this particular revelation, that Nando’s uses McCain frozen chips. OK, maybe they have a very special recipe and all that but still, frozen? What’s wrong with cutting up a good old spud yourself?

Yes, of course, this is a gross over reaction by that part of the editorial team that doesn’t even live near a Nando’s, not even in the right country. But then that’s why – for they do live very close to where the basic cuisine itself comes from. This is thus really a horror:

Fans of high street restaurant chain Nando’s are incredulous today after the firm admitted using McCain’s frozen chips in its dishes.

The revelations, which emerged after a former employee spoke with a local newspaper, left scores of supporters shocked on Twitter.

The firm says it has an “exclusive” recipe as part of a partnership with McCain Food Services.

It means they may not be the same as what consumers cook at home from the freezers.

“Our hugely popular chips are developed in partnership with McCain Food Services and the specific recipe is exclusive to Nando’s,” a spokesperson told the BBC.

This basic style of chicken, a grilled spatchcock with piri piri, is a Portuguese dish. More specifically, it’s “estilo de Guia”. Guia being a village not far outside Albufeira in the Algarve, Guia also being a village within cycling distance of the residence of one of the editorial team (note, the best exemplar of the dish actually being nearby in Silves).

It is also true that this “frango piri piri” is the standard take away food of the entire country of Portugal. This is why, at least as far as we know, there are no Nando’s in Portugal.

There is also a useful manner of working out whether someone is being serious about their supply of frango. Sure, everyone will have their own blend which makes up the sauce, there’s competition here. But the serious people will be using spuds to make chips onsite, the unserious will use frozen.

Nando’s is not being serious.

BTW, yes, Nando’s is Portuguese. The route is from Portugal, indeed from Guia for the cooking style originally, through Portuguese Empire to Mozambique, then after independence into South Africa which is where the chain itself started. That linkage is why they call it “peri peri” for example. Spellings and styles go a little awry at these sorts of distances.

But still frozen chips are a marker of not being serious about yer chicken. Naughty Nando’s.

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  1. If this is really a problem, why not open a chain of chicken restaurants with a USP of ‘chips handmade on site’ and take Nando’s business. If insufficient numbers of punters give a flying monkey’s to make this an economic, success then frozen chips really aren’t a problem, are they?

  2. Not serious about chicken but deadly serious about running a profitable business – division of labour and all that. McCain’s are much better placed than Nando’s to specialise in spud prepping, so let them. Better food at a better price is the result. What’s not to like. If it’s fancy frango you want then hie ye over to Silves.

  3. Par boiling IMO makes for a better chip and roast potato. Plus McCain’s are big enough to ensure the same type of potato all year round.

    I would choose a supplier of frozen over fresh in general, unless I knew the chef was manually checking each potato before trying (as an expensive place should).

  4. Thanx for that. Solved the question of tonight’s meal. Got the resident Brasilena working on it right now. Bahia recipe. The meat will be gallina. Yellow farmyard hens from the campo. Fritas, of course, from fresh spuds. Just the choice of the wine to decide.
    Nandos? What’s Nandos?

  5. “This is thus” is truly an horrific way to start a paragraph. By the way, the best chips in Brussels, from Maison Antoine, come frozen in cardboard boxes. And besides, “frozen chips are a marker of not being serious about yer chicken” doesn’t even begin to make sense

  6. Doing fries fresh is not a costly exercise. At the local In-N-Out you can watch a young person putting spuds into a manual slicer, washing them and then dropping them into the fryer. Cost is $1.85 for a good tray of really fresh fries. The chain has been very profitable.

  7. Did anyone really think they made their own chips?
    Nando’s is an ersatz Churrasqueira but it’s pleasant in it’s own way. It always seems to be full of teenage couples so I suspect it serves a purpose of providing an affordable introduction to eating out for romance. Similar to how Wimpy’s used to be used to introduce kids to eating out in a easy way.