What Made Anthony Bourdain's French Fries 'The Best In New York'

Anthony Bourdain may have been classically trained at The Culinary Institute of America, but he was a lover of casual foods that he often chowed down on one of his TV shows. Before becoming a celebrated author and an Emmy Award winner for CNN's "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," Bourdain served as a chef at Les Halles in New York City.

No longer open, Les Halles served French brasserie-style food, such as steak frites and steak tartare. One of Bourdain's signature foods was his french fries, which he claimed were the best in New York City in his first cookbook (via Fine Dining Lovers). That's a pretty big claim considering New York City has around 27,000 dining establishments. While french fries may have a reputation as being a classic American food served with hamburgers, hot dogs, and other sandwiches, the potato side dish is often served with steak in France. Frites, or french fries, should have a crispy exterior and soft inside. Food & Wine says frites are cooked with a two-step process that involves frying at a lower temperature to cook them and then cooking them again at a higher temperature to give them a crispy exterior.

So, how did Bourdain make his french fries stand out from all of the rest in New York City?

Attention to detail

When Anthony Bourdain made his french fries at Les Halles, he used a three-step process. First, he would blanch the potatoes, according to Fine Dining Lovers, followed by double frying them. Bourdain's recipe shared by Fine Dining Lovers calls for peeling and slicing Idaho potatoes into 1/2-inch sticks and then keeping them in a bowl of iced water for 30 minutes to overnight. This method helps to remove the starch. After rinsing the potatoes, the fries can be fried in batches in peanut oil. First, they should be fried at 280 degrees Fahrenheit for six to eight minutes until they are semi-translucent, according to Fine Dining Lovers. The next step requires removing them from the oil and then spreading them out on a baking sheet to rest for 15 minutes before deep frying them a second time at 375 degrees for two to three minutes. The second round in the fryer will turn the potatoes brown and crispy. The final step for the perfect fries is to put them into a bowl lined with a dry towel to salt them.

When Les Halles reopened for a special one weekend in 2021, the menu had to include Bourdain's french fries served with a steak, according to Insider. Perhaps it's not surprising that a man known for eating bowls of soup in Asia while sitting on a plastic stool would be famous for humble yet perfectly made french fries.