George Crum

In honor of Black History Month, every day The Cardinal will feature a prominent person who has contributed to society.


Felipe Gomez, Staff Writer

George Speck, also known as George Crum was born in Saratoga County in upstate New york July 15, 1824, and died on July 22, 1914. He worked as a hunter, guide, and cooked in the Adirondack mountains, and became renowned for his culinary skills after being hired at Moon’s Lake House on Saratoga Lake, near Saratoga Springs, New York. He was widely credited with the invention of the first potato chip.

He was working and sent an order of french fries to the customers and they sent them back because they were too thick. He got frustrated with the customer’s demands, and Crum sought revenge by slicing the batch of potatoes paper-thin, frying them to a crisp, and seasoning them with lots of salt. Surprisingly, the customer loved them. Soon enough, Crum and Moon’s Lake House became well-known for their special “Saratoga Chips.”  A number of notable accounts have disputed the story of Crum’s culinary innovation. Recipes for frying thin slices had already been published in cookbooks by the early 1800s. Additionally, several reports on Crum himself including a 1893 commissioned biography of the chef and his own obituary-curiously lacked any mention of potato chips whatsoever. Visitors came from far and wide to Moon’s Lake House for a taste of the famous Saratoga chips, sometimes even taking a 10-mile trip around the lake just to get to the restaurant.  To this day, George Crum is still credited with the invention of the potato chip.