It was a slow night last February at the Park Slope ChipShop restaurant in Brooklyn. Bored, owner Christopher Sell and his six-person staff, he says, “started frying anything we could get our hands on,” starting with M&Ms and Peppermint Patties. The ensuing horrors were quickly discarded. Then they turned to Hostess Twinkies.
The result: something Sell, 37, jokingly describes as a “fusion” dish, meaning that it combines “the worst of English food, which is everything fried, with the worst of American food.” Still, at $3 each, deep-fried Twinkies quickly became a hit with ChipShop customers. “I didn’t know what to expect,” says regular Joanna Manzoor, 30, “but it was heavenly.”
Sell, 37, raised in Rugby, England, opened his fish-and-chips shop in 2000, placing deep-fried Mars bars (a delicacy in Scotland) on the menu as, he says, “a talking point.” With two more ChipShop branches in the planning stage, Sell, who shares a one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment with wife Vicki, 35, a management consultant, is delighted that his fat-enhanced Twinkies have become somewhat of a nationwide phenomenon, mainly at state fairs. “The more famous the deep-fried Twinkie is,” he says, “the better it is for me.” As long as it’s others who are eating them.