Out of the Box

Out of the Box: The Grocery Snack Katie Button Keeps on Hand

Like many Southerners, the Asheville chef loves Zapp’s Potato Chips. But she has a decidedly European way of enjoying them

Photo: Evan Sung

Chef Katie Button.

Katie Button keeps busy. The 2022 James Beard Award winner runs two Asheville restaurants, the tapas hotspot Cúrate and the Spanish cafe and wine bar La Bodega, with her Spaniard husband, Félix Meana. In addition, she travels frequently to film the Magnolia Network TV show From the Source, in which she showcases the origins of popular ingredients. She’s also a mom to two young children, so she keeps her pantry stocked with quick snack options. One of her favorites is Zapp’s Potato Chips.

The Gramercy, Louisiana–born kettle chip, now owned by Utz, has been providing snackers with an audible crunch since 1985. “There’s just something about them. They are deeply satisfying,” Button says. “Maybe it’s the way they’re fried.” (Zapp’s uses peanut oil rather than the canola common in packaged chips.)

She likes most Zapp’s flavors, but her go-tos are Original, Salt & Vinegar, and Cajun Dill Gator-Tators (essentially, pickle). Her preferred way to eat them? Topped with berberechos—tinned cockles sold on her gifting website Cúrate at Home and at select grocery stores. “We always have tinned fish on hand for quick meals or snacks,” she says. “Topping potato chips with killer tinned fish with a splash of hot sauce is incredibly delicious.”

Even her four- and seven-year-old children get in on the action. “My daughter will devour a whole can [on Zapp’s] before I can turn back around,” she says, noting that in Spain, potato chips and cockles is a classic aperitivo. “It’s the reason why clam dip with potato chips is a thing [in the U.S.],” she says. 

Button prefers to pour cockles into a bowl and then use Zapp’s as a sturdy delivery vessel. “Because they are so crunchy, they hold up better. Other kettle chips break and fall apart. Zapp’s are the only ones that hold up to the scoop.”