At the Orange County Fair, They ‘Tasted the Difference’

At the Orange County Fair, They ‘Tasted the Difference’ – And Beef Tallow Fries Came Up the Winner

Teaming with Chicken Charlie’s in Blind Taste Test, Coast Packing Says Flavor is Key to ‘French Fries Fried Right’

At the Orange County Fair, They ‘Tasted the Difference’ The people have spoken.  Beef tallow really is the way to a better French fry.

Putting palates on the line at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, Calif. on Sunday, July 23, Coast Packing Company, the West’s leading supplier of animal fat shortenings, and Charles “Chicken Charlie” Boghosian – Southern California’s deep-fry king and inventor of the deep fried Oreo, among many other culinary innovations – hosted the Taste the Difference Challenge, a blind taste test for “French Fries Fried Right.”

More than 120 fairgoers enjoying a day of “Farm Fresh Fun” had an opportunity to literally taste the difference between Burbank russet potatoes cooked the old-fashioned way – in beef fat (technically, beef tallow) – versus vegetable oil, as Chicken Charlie fried up the two varieties for blind taste-testings on-stage in the Culinary Arts building.  Consumers cast ballots for the fries with the best flavor, texture and color, to determine what constitutes “French Fries Fried Right.” At the Orange County Fair, They ‘Tasted the Difference’

“County fairs showcase fried food better than just about any place, and fairgoers are experienced evaluators of deep fried foods,” said Pamela Wnuck, Culinary Supervisor for the Orange County Fair. “We were delighted to host this delicious fry-off and provide a fun, hands-on opportunity for fairgoers to express their passion for all things fried.”

And thus, with fairgoers’ palates attuned to deep fried excellence, by a vote of 71 to 57, the classic flavor of beef tallow-fried spuds emerged as the popular favorite.

“At this challenge, taste buds had their say – and beef tallow carried the day,” said Ernest Miller, Coast Packing’s Corporate Chef and emcee for the taste-off.

Authentic, traditional and pure animal fat shortenings are now undergoing a resurgence within America’s food culture, in restaurants, fast food operations and kitchens.  Artificial trans fats are out, and natural, minimally processed animal fats like beef tallow are in. Animal fat shortenings are enjoying a renaissance not only because they’re natural and traditional, but because of their superior quality. The color, texture and umami that beef tallow imparts to fried foods makes it a vastly superior alternative to heavily processed, industrially produced substitutes.

“We know beef tallow truly does produce a better French fry, and we’re delighted that the majority of participating OC Fairgoers felt the same way,” said Eric R. Gustafson, CEO, Coast Packing.  “In less than a year — July 13, 2018 – we’ll be observing the first official National Beef Tallow Day.  As Sunday’s festivities demonstrated, there’s no substitute for the quality frying that beef tallow delivers.”

About Coast Packing Company

Now marking its 95th year in business, Coast Packing Company (, a closely held corporation, is the number one supplier of animal fat shortenings – particularly lard and beef tallow — in the Western United States.  The company sells to major manufacturers, distributors, retailers, smaller food service operations and leading bakeries.  The company participates actively in various ethnic markets – from Hispanic retail chains, with its VIVA brand, to various Asian specialty markets.  Based in Vernon, Calif., Coast Packing Company is regional, national and, increasingly, global.  In some cases, supplier relationships are multigenerational, extending back 50 years and more.  Coast is a founding member of the Healthy Fats Coalition (

For more information about Coast Packing Company, visit: Follow us via social media on Facebook at, Twitter @coastpackingco and Pinterest

About the OC Fair

The 2017 OC Fair will run July 14 through Aug. 13 and offer 23 days and nights of entertainment, food, rides, shopping, exhibits and more. The Fair is open Wednesdays through Fridays from noon to midnight, and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to midnight.

For 2017 OC Fair promo photos: