We Talked Potato Chips With Nick Lachey

What do Nick Lachey, Cincinnati's skyline chili, and Lay's potato chips all have in common? Quite a lot, actually. It was only a few weeks ago that I found myself sitting down with the former 98 Degrees singer at a hightop bar table in the basement of a dimly lit NYC comedy club. Why were we there? To chat chips.

Lachey will be returning for his second time to run the Lay's "Do Us A Flavor" contest, where fans from across the country can compete in creating the brand's next new flavor in hopes of winning a one million dollar prize (yep, potato chips can make you rich). And that night, he was kick-starting the competition by hosting a "pitch off" with his brother, Drew; what ensued can only be described as a rap battle on chip flavors. But before Lachey got up on stage, I was able to steal him away and pick his brain on all things deep-fried potato. Read on to find out his favorite flavor, how a bag of chips may have saved his singing career, and more.
Photo: Courtesy of Lays.
What are you most excited to see in the competition as you kick it off this year?
“It’s cool to kind of get into the meat of the story and find out why is this particular flavor so meaningful to them, why is it special to them, and what does it take them back to. It gives a real weight, a real backstory to what it’s all about — and a lot of times, even compliments the flavor in some weird way."

Do you get to try all the flavors?

“I don’t get to try ALL the flavors, but last time around I got to try the four finalist flavors: Reuben, Hero, Biscuits & Gravy, and Truffle Chips."

Were you scared to try any of the flavors OR were you totally game?
“No, no, no. Well I’m a HUGE fan of the Reubens, so I was super excited to get into that one. The craziest thing to me is if you close your eyes, you would swear you were eating a reuben. The flavor, the taste of them, was SO spot on. It really is kind of crazy what they’re able to pack into a chip. So yeah, I’ll eat anything, I’m game for anything.”

If you could submit a flavor yourself, what flavor would you submit?
“Oh, so I’m from Cincinnati and we have a local chili called ‘Skyline Chili,’ and it’s not like Texas chili with beans, it’s like a sweet chili and you eat it over a hot dog or spaghetti — I’ve always thought that taste of chili with the cheese and a chip would be awesome. So that would be my submission, but sadly I am not allowed to participate. So I’ve just given you a gift, you’re welcome.”

What is your favorite Lay's flavor?
“For me, it’s classic. I’ve told this story before, but literally as a recording artist when we were recording “I Do” with 98 Degrees, I came into the studio hoarse and the producer, Keith Thomas, was like ‘eat a bag of Lay's.’ And I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And he said, ‘It will help coat your throat.’ And I’ll be damned, I recored ‘I Do,’ which became one of our biggest songs, with a bag of Lay's in the recording studio. I wouldn’t make that up! You can call Keith to verify.”
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