Food | Frites

Ever wonder why the fries you get at a restaurant taste so much better than those soggy sticks you make at home? Chef Jonathan Waxman, proprietor of Manhattan's Washington Park restaurant, shared his trade secrets with Tip Sheet's Kathleen Deveny.

Step one: Start with the perfect potato, preferably one from Klamath Falls, Ore. (Russets work, too.) If they're hard like apples, let them rest a week. If they've sprouted eyes, you're too late.

Step two: Use good peanut oil. Safflower or corn oil will do, but forget canola oil. "I think it's weird," says Waxman.

Step three: Soak peeled potatoes overnight in cold water. The next day, cut them into pieces and soak again for two to three hours.

Step four: Heat two cups of oil per potato to 250 degrees. A deep pot with an old-fashioned french-fry basket is best; the oil should fill a third of the vessel. Cook fries for eight minutes. Cool and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Step five: Cook at 350 degrees for two or three minutes until golden.