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Potatoes . . . a chef's secret

Potatoes can be classed into two varieties; waxy and floury. A potato low in solid content (high in water) will be a good masher but a poor fryer, whereas a potato high in solid content (low in moisture) makes an excellent fryer or roasting potato. If a good boiling potato is required a medium to high solid content is required.

Therefore it is important that chefs know the different potato varieties and their properties, this information should be readily available from local suppliers in the form of a chart. Failing this a simple test that can be done is to test the potatoes density (or specific gravity):

  • Dissolve 1kg salt in 8 litres of water ( 20° C )
  • Put some potatoes in the water
  • Any that float will make good frying, roasting or boiling potatoes
  • Those that sink will probably cook up floury and best left for mashing

Taken from the website of Chef Jos Wellman who you know as Tallyrand. Having travelled the world learning his craft, he is now working in New Zealand teaching the next generation. His website is packed with fascinating information, like this piece, about the art of cooking and its history.