I am pressed into a corner of a trailer kitchen called Charlie's Chicken, where owner Charlie Boghosian, mixes batter with yogurt and M&M's. It is an epicenter within the rarefied world of Extreme Deep-Fry. In this long galley scarcely three feet wide, I count eight other people bustling with remarkable calm considering their proximity to giant vats of boiling oil. It's a strikingly thin space to be producing some of the world's fattiest food.
Suddenly, Mr. Boghosian makes a move for a package of sour gummi worms. He tears it open, and drops them into the batter.
"This'll work great," he chuckles with the kind of delight that calls to mind a mad scientist about to throw the giant electric switch. "But you've got to make sure they're completely covered in batter – otherwise they'll liquefy."
I make a note of that.
Having heard that Boghosian could deep-fry anything, I hunted him up, dumped a bunch of ingredients on his counter and threw down the gauntlet. I'm not accustomed to bringing props to a news story, but I'm not above it either, particularly if I may have to ingest them. I will also add right here and now that no animals were harmed in the writing of this story.
Boghosian may not be the undisputed king of extreme deep-fry, because little is undisputed in this world – but he is certainly a king. In his realm, you will encounter deep-fried Twinkies; a deep-fried veggie platter that includes olives, asparagus, and artichoke hearts; deep-fried Oreos (Boghosian's personal favorite), and his hot new creation – a Krispy Kreme chicken sandwich. That's a Krispy Kreme doughnut cut in half, surrounding a fried chicken patty with a viscous wedge of cheese melted in. The whole thing is not, I repeat not, dipped in batter and deep-fried, which makes it some of the lighter fare that Boghosian serves up, and also the cause of recent protest from two San Francisco radio talk-show hosts.
"They were saying, 'We got gypped [because] it's not truly deep fried,' '' recounts Boghosian. "But why would you deep fry something that has already been deep fried?" (Never mind that Boghosian was recently observed deep-frying churros, deep-fried Mexican cinnamon treats.)