The French Fry Flavoring Professional Chefs Don't Approve Of

French fries are a popular restaurant and bar food staple beloved by all ages that pair well with burgers and sandwiches, and also work great as a shareable appetizer. While some fry purists might prefer eating them plain or sprinkled with a little salt and dipped in ketchup, many restaurants and online recipes offer the option of enhancing them in various ways.

The most common add-ons are often cheese, chili, bacon, ranch, or some combination thereof, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are BBQ versions including pork-loaded French fries that resemble nachos, featuring shredded pulled pork, cheese, onions, scallions, and sour cream. Or, if you'd rather build a pizza on a French fry foundation, you can follow this genius way to upgrade frozen waffle fries by smothering them in pasta sauce and cheese plus any other pizza toppings that please your palate from pepperoni to mushrooms. The choices are nearly limitless when it comes to fries, but there is one French fry flavoring technique that professional chefs generally frown upon.

Fancy fry or imposter?

Truffles are notoriously expensive and valued as a delicacy due to the fact that they are both rare and regarded as a gastronomic delight. The coveted fungi are difficult to find and equally challenging to cultivate, often resulting in unreliable harvests. Truffle hunters have employed the services of pigs and a special breed of dog called the Lagotto Romagnolo to locate this elusive culinary treasure (per Truff).

Prices for the four different truffle varieties can range from in the hundreds per pound to $4,000 per pound for the white Alba truffles found in the town of the same name in Italy. Authentic truffle is typically served over pasta or risotto (via CNBC).

Some restaurants will offer truffle oil fries on their menu, which sounds fancy and all, but if you've tried it, you still haven't actually experienced a real truffle. It's an imposter truffle flavoring concocted in a food science lab using the magic of chemicals. And this is one French fry flavoring technique that professional chefs typically don't enjoy.

'It's not food'

Truffle oil is incorporated into other appetizers and dishes aside from truffle fries, including popcorn and pizza, though what you are tasting is the mimicked essence of truffle in the form of the chemical compound 2,4-dithiapentane and not the earthy complexity of a real McCoy truffle. Many chefs have not minced words about how they feel on the subject of using truffle oil in cooking. Chef Ken Frank, host of the Napa Truffle Festival, has called it "an abomination" for its misleading name and one-dimensional flavor profile (per Napa Truffle Festival). The late Anthony Bourdain, never one to shy away from blunt statements, once exclaimed of truffle oil, "It's not food. It has nothing to do with truffles. There's no truffles in it! It's dreadful" (via First We Feast). Gordon Ramsey described truffle oil as "The worst thing" (per PopSugar).

So, why have truffle oil fries and other truffle-themed items appeared on menus at restaurants of all stripes throughout the country if a lot of professional chefs loathe them? Because they offer a less expensive substitute for truffles that can satisfy the high consumer demand for this precious commodity that is challenging to find and hard to grow (via Reader's Digest). Of course, whether truffle oil is a genuine article or not, if you enjoy eating truffle fries, then that's all that should really matter. But just remember that there is an exasperated chef somewhere shaking their head at your order.