You’d be hard pressed to find a bag of Maple Moose flavoured potato chips in Isle aux Morts these days.
“They were even waiting at the store Wednesday to buy them when the Lay’s truck pulled in,” laughed Tyler LeFrense, a native of the community on the province’s west coast.
The 29-year-old musician and actor’s love of moose and maple syrup is what inspired him to submit the flavours together for a new potato chip in the Lay’s Do Us a Flavour Contest, launched by the company earlier this year with the help of Canadian actor Martin Short.
LeFrense’s concoction worked and landed him a $5,000 cheque for his flavour creation, and it has put him in the running for the grand prize of $50,000. There’s also a one per cent deal of future sales with Lay’s.
He’s one of four finalists, and for the first time since April he’s able to speak about it.
“The last thing I thought is I would get picked as a finalist. It was hard being around all my buddies and friends and thinking, ‘This is too good to be true,’ but not being able to say anything. Mom was the only one who knew,” LeFrense told The Telegram Wednesday.
In the fall of the year, moose hunting and cooking it with a hint of maple syrup are the ingredients he said he used to make his chip, and he says that all comes out in the taste.
“To be honest, mine is the most unique flavour of all because the other three have a taste like other chips that have already been made,” he said.
“Even when you open the bag the smell just hits you. It’s like no other. When I ate them first it was nothing at all what I thought it was going to taste like.
“I thought it would be like a sweet, maple taste, but it’s almost when I ate them it was like you picture yourself in the back of the woods, like a firewood taste and sweetness to it,” LeFrense said.
LeFrense, whose flavour was picked from 600,000 entries, was in Toronto this week for the company kick off for the online voting process.
Sunday was the first time he saw the chip bag and tasted the chips. He said when he went into the hotel one of the staff told him there was a gift bag there for him.
He said in April the company asked him to send photos of himself but he never thought much of it.
“They never told us much about the packaging but when I got in Toronto I turned the bag around and saw my face on it I said, ‘Oh my goodness, this is awesome. I have my face on a bag of chips,” LeFrense said laughing.
“I’d rather have it on a bag of chips than a milk carton any day,” he said jokingly.
He said while he only spent a couple of days in Toronto he was glad to be home and excited to get the province interested in the voting process. Voting got underway Tuesday and people are permitted to vote once a day until Oct. 16 at Lays.ca/flavour.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to come from such a small community and go up against three major cities is exciting. I told the boys I’m putting Isle Aux Morts on the map for having the munchies,” he joked.
The Telegram newsroom purchased the four bags in the running for the top spot — Maple Moose, Creamy Garlic Caesar from British Columbia’s Jill Munro, Grilled Cheese and Ketchup from Ontario’s Angela Batley and Perogy Platter from Alberta’s Lucas Crawford — and did an unofficial taste test.
The Maple Moose received several thumbs up and some thumbs down, but overall won for the most distinct and unique flavour.