If you were to ask any Hullensian what chip spice is, there’s a high probability they might look at you like you’ve literally just crash landed from another planet. They may even ask you to reconsider your life choices… and to be honest, they would be completely correct.
We checked out a brief history of the spice and its prosperous future.
introduced to Hull by restaurant owner John Science. His unique burger bar Yankee Burger on Jameson Street brought chip spice to Hull, and to this day it continues to be one of the city’s greatest delicacies.
Originally, John’s close friends Rob and Brenda Wilson came up with the idea of using spiced salt and paprika when visiting America during the late 70s, which they then distributed to local butchers and food service industries in Hull. John’s friendship with the pair meant he was able to nick some of their ideas and combine their ingredients together with his own undisclosed flavours, which still remain a mystery to this day.
The success of John’s spice through Yankee Burger helped turn the company into a Yankee Burger franchise. This saw the development of a retro 50s style Yankee Burger restaurant, complete with a distinctive pink corvette which rested on its matching pink roof. It came as no surprise that with increasing demand for John’s chip spice, local fish and chip shops soon saw the opportunity to distribute the spice in their shops (and they haven’t looked back since). The most popular type of chip spice now available in supermarkets is American Chip Spice, who despite their ‘American’ label still claim their Yorkshire roots, albeit with an American style.
Nowadays, the best way to sample the spice around Hull is through virtually every local fish and chip shop. However, it does appear the types of chip spice you now have access to are gradually expanding. Despite the modern day ingredients being a far cry from the more complex flavours knocking around back in the day, people are starting to recognise its potential and are now offering ways you can experiment with the spice other than the typical combination of chips, pizzas and burgers it’s most commonly associated with.
One example is through locals Alex Hendy and Josef Zanetti’s company Spice’It, who have created their own niche new brand of gourmet chip spice. They even have a selection of unusual recipes you can sample with chip spice mixes. Who would have thought you could (chip) spice up even the most basic dishes, such as jacket potatoes and omelettes?
It’s also been known that consumers regularly sprinkle their curry mixes over ‘noodle dishes and with rice’ which give their curries ‘an extra kick’, whilst their smoked paprika and chili options are often used as a ‘marinade for meats or to stir into sauces’. The most popular of their spice mixes chili spice, is one Alex likes to add to a ‘spicy bolognese or chili con carne.’
If you fancy going that extra mile, the spices can also be used as part of Italian starters such as Crostini Misti which infuse Italian toast together with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers and mushrooms, or even quick and simple tomato soups.
I think it’s fair to say the wider selection of chip spice recipes and flavours are finally giving chip spice the recognition it truly deserves, which will undoubtedly leave taste buds tingling for a long time to come.