Managing editor Marina Mayer creates her own chip flavor, thanks to a Create-a-Chip Kit and a couple of experimental spices.

Create, Shake, Taste, Share

Since the beginning of time, potato chips have been just that - plain ole potato chips.

Then a couple of years ago, chip producers spiced up their lines and began developing unconventional varieties made with better-for-you ingredients.

Now, one chip maker, in particular, is asking its consumers to be the flavor artist and create the next up-and-coming chip variety.

The Create-a-Chip Challenge, presented by Salem, Ore.-based Kettle Brand Potato Chips, stems from a Create-a-Chip Kit, complete with four 1-oz. bags of unseasoned chips and seven packets of all-natural season blends, such as Lemon Butter, Caramelized Onion, Roasted Tomato, Cheddar, Vinegar, Sweet Chili and Sour Cream & Chive. Contestants also are encouraged to pull spices and seasonings from their own pantry to incorporate into the recipe.

After dreaming up the “perfect” flavor, sprinkle the seasonings on the chips, reseal the bag, shake and taste test.

For inspiration, each kit contains 5-oz. bags of previous People’s Choice winners for varieties such as Spicy Thai, Buffalo Bleu and Tuscan Three Cheese.

Think you can develop the winning flavor?

Participants can visit to submit their recipes and enter to win freeKettle Brandpotato chips for a year. Or flip through the Flavor of the Week, which is voted on by consumers and consists of varieties such as Sweet Cheddar and Mike’s Vinegar. Visitors can span through the Recipe Gallery and rate and review formulas submitted from other chip artists on a five-star scale from dull to delicious. Additionally, users can click into Carolyn’s Corner and find tips, recipes, company history and the Kettle-ictionary, which is an outline of all Kettle-related terms, presented by Carolyn Richards, Kettle Brands chief flavor architect.

“There’s no denying that making, and munching,Kettle BrandPotato Chip flavors all day is a dream job,” she says. “Now, we’re letting our fans in on the fun, giving chip artists everything they need to dig in and create their own customized flavor.”

Customizing flavors sounds like a task for Ms. Won’t Try.

Now, because I’m Plain Jane, I stuck to the rudimentary seasonings - I mixed one tablespoon each of Cheddar and Caramelized Onion with a tablespoon of Roasted Tomatoes, followed by a teaspoon of Cheddar.

I always have to add extra cheese.

Nothing too crazy, I know, but enough to produce quite the zing.

My husband on the other hand is a bit more daring in the food department and enjoys trying new things.
(I’m sure you can imagine what dinner is like at our household).

So we tossed my hopeless bag of chips aside, and blended a tablespoon each of the Sweet Chili and Caramelized Onion seasonings to create a sizzling and spicy snack.

After laughing about my “plain” creation, he says, “well, you’re definitely in the right line of business - not being a chef.”

I guess I won’t be submitting my recipe online.

So people, get your shake on. The Create-a-Chip Challenge is only on for a limited time, and the next People’s Choice variety will be unveiled in October.

Now back to creating a chip flavor that my husband and I can both agree on.

Marina Mayer, managing editor

Editor’s Note: Go to to read Marina’s exclusive online-only columns.