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Local chip historian featured on History Channel series

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SARATOGA, NY (WRGB) – This week, the History Channel premiered a new series called The Food that Built America, and a local man who's turned potato chips into an obsession is prominently featured.

There was a time when the potato chop had a different name.

It was called the Saratoga Chip and it was the snack-food darling of the country.

A former tax counsel for GE who likes to crunch more than numbers has spent years studying the crispy golden spud and, thanks to this new History Channel show, he’s now in the chips!

It all started when Alan Richer, or the “Toga Chip Guy” moved to Saratoga Lake. His house was just down the street from where the Saratoga potato chip was invented at Moons Lakehouse in the mid 1800’s.

Or was it? A London optician had published a recipe for potatoes fried in slices or shavings in 1817, beating Saratoga by more than 30 years.

Alan Richer, Toga Chip Guy, says,

“I think most people will acknowledge even if the potato chip wasn’t invented here, it was popularized here.”

Around 1925, the term Saratoga started being eliminated and it became referred to as just potato chips, but Alan was not one to let the chips fall where they may; he refused to let Saratoga’s role in chip history be eliminated.

So, he started tracking down old flyers and menus and chip bags, chipping away until he had the largest collection in the world of Saratoga chip memorabilia.

Richer says,

“I used to have so much; it overwhelmed the house. My wife and daughter said you have to cut it down a little bit.”

Richer was hired as a researcher by the History Channel for the blue-chip series on snack food trade wars.

Alan’s segments on the History Channel will run in April. The show is called “The Food that Built America” and he appears in two segments, one about Frito Lay and the other about Pringles.

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We’ll remind you when it’s on-I hear its chip fab!

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