Attention Chip-a-holics. Lay’s Canada’s favourite potato chip brand’s Lay’s Do Us a Flavour contest is back! From now until April 22, you can submit ideas for the next great potato chip flavour at Lays.ca/Flavour for a chance to win $50,000 plus one per cent of your flavour’s future sales after the voting period ends!
This year there’s a new twist. To celebrate our great country and all of our regional flavours, the Lay’s brand is asking fans to share their Tastes of Canada as inspired by four regions: Western Canada, Ontario, Quebec or Atlantic Canada.
Are the flavours you dream of reminiscent of road trips or cottage getaways, vacations or family reunions, cities, friends, or family? Lay’s wants to know what tastes of Canada make you drool and the story behind them.
Creating the nation’s next great Lay’s potato chip flavour has become wildly popular around the world, including here in Canada. Following its debut two years ago, the Lay’s Do Us a Flavour contest has received almost two million flavour entries (including my entry from last year, Memories of Santorini: Tzatiki, Oregano, Lemon). Past Canadian winners include Jalapeño Mac N’ Cheese on Lay’s Wavy by Randall Litman in 2014 and Maple Moose on Lay’s Original by Tyler LeFrense in 2013.
For the third year in a row, Quebec’s Rebel Chef Antoine Sicotte has a starring role as spokeperson for the contest. No stranger to excitement, chef Antoine started his career in the Canadian pop band SKY, but quickly moved his creative energies over to cooking. He’s a successful celebrity chef based out of Montreal with three cookbooks (one bestselling) and three TV shows (a fourth taping this summer).
With a passion for discovering great flavour through his culinary adventures, Antoine’s role is about inspiring consumers to find and submit their favourite flavours. For this year’s contest, Antoine has developed three of his favourite Tastes of Canada recipes (Tourtiere, Pate Chinois – like a Shepherd’s Pie – and a BC Salmon Brunch Dish) to help remind Canadians of their yummiest flavour experiences.
I had the chance to sit down with Chef Antoine and to ask him some questions about life, his inspiration, and how you can design the winning flavour. (Note: some answers have been paraphrased.)
Why do they call you the Rebel Chef?
A lot of people think its because of my cuisine. But it’s more about the human behind the cook. I dropped out of school at 15 because I was bored of sitting in a chair all day. I do things my own way. I’m proactive in life, self-taught in music. If someone says turn left, I think Why should I?
You’ve traveled the world looking for amazing flavours. What’s your favourite flavor profile?
What’s so wonderful about food is that there’s so much variety. You have the ability to have so many different flavours and have something different every night. I like spicy food with lots of aromatics and strong flavours. For example, Indian, Thai, Italian, and Greek cuisine all have the bold flavours that I look for.
What was the best meal you had in your travels? Is there one that tops them all?
There’s definitely one that pops into my mind. When I was in French Polynesia, I went fishing and we caught a parrot fish. Minutes later we were at the side of a lagoon fileting and eating it sashimi style. We took a coconut right off the tree, cracked it and poured the milk over the sashimi, squeezed a fresh lime right off a lime tree, sea salt from the ocean. It was magnificent. The coconut tasted exactly how it was supposed to taste. We made our meal out of what nature provided. When they were cleaning the fish, there were 12 little sharks eating the guts from the fish as we were cleaning it.
The Lay’s Do Us a Flavour Contest this year focuses on Canadian flavours. Why do you think this is important?
This is my third year as spokeperson for this contest. And I love doing it because I love chips. But when I was a kid they didn’t have all the flavoured chips. We’d go to my grandmother’s house and we would flavour our own with vinegar and ketchup. Those are the Canadian flavours I remember.
But maybe you ate something that really inspired you somewhere in Canada. So What we want to know is: what’s the memory of where those flavors comes from? I imagine the regional inspiration like this: the West is meaty, Ontario is fresh strawberries, the East Coast is scallops and seafood, and Quebec is Tortiere. So the goal is to connect Canadians to our national foods. And the four finalists will be with four flavours with regional connections. The finalists will be based on three factors: the story, the name and the ingredients. At the end of the summer people will be able to vote and choose the grand winner.
What is your favourite Canadian regional cuisine? Why?
To be honest, it would have to be a combination of things. We have amazing meats on the West Coast and I have a strong meat side to my personality. But I also love the seafood, lobster and scallops from the East Coast. I’d love to have each end of the country in one place.
What do you hope people come up with? What would be the worst flavor combo you could imagine?
I hope they come up with original, creative, well-balanced flavours. The worst thing would be an unbalanced flavor. The first things when creating a dish is to give pleasure to your mouth with balance. So you wouldn’t want all sweet, all salty, or all spicy. Think about what’s in the food you like to eat and go to the core of that.
As always, I ended my interview with my Fast 5 questions.
Favourite book: A Year in Provence
Favourite movie: My manly side says Bladerunner but my feminine side says Under the Tuscan Sun
Kitchen tool you couldn’t live without: A good knife
Top weeknight meal: For the family, homemade tacos (chili with chocolate) but for just me and my wife, a perfect arrabiata (In a pan, cook garlic, evoo, hot peppers & tomatoes. Cook 5-10 minutes)
If you could be anywhere with anyone right now: Somewhere sunny and warm and the sound of the sea with my wife
How to Submit a Chip:
Between now and April 22, 2015, submit flavour ideas at Lays.ca/Flavour, by texting the word FLAVOUR to 101010 or by mail. You’ll be asked to provide a flavour name, up to 3 ingredients, a chip style (Original, Wavy and/or Kettle Cooked), a flavour inspiration (140 characters max) and the Canadian region that inspired your submission.
Fans of Lay’s potato chips across the country will be able to buy, try and vote for the finalist flavour they feel should stay on store shelves and win chip aisle fame. The grand prize winner will be announced in the fall of 2015 and will take home $50,000 plus one per cent of sales after the voting period ends.
WIN a LAY’s Prize Pack from me today. Valued at $150 it includes a $50 VIA rail gift certificate, chips, a MEC travel bag and Lonely Planet Canada.