As a brand new cast prepares to wash up on Celebrity Treasure Island, we present a high-level analysis of each contestant’s desert island chip.
A person’s chip choice can say a lot about their personality. For example, according to The Spinoff’s historic ranking of all 123 chip flavours ranked from worst to best, if you choose the Pringles mystery flavour you are a “psychopath”, whereas if you choose Rashuns you are a “sophisticated individual”. But what if your chip choice defined not only your personality, but your potential to last in a reality television game show set on a treasure island?
When I was lucky enough to meet the entire cast of Celebrity Treasure Island in an unnamed remote Northland location, this was the first question on my notepad. I then took my findings to Madeleine Chapman (our resident chip ranker extraordinaire) and Calum Henderson (oracle who once correctly predicted every single Spinoff staff member’s favourite chip during Friday drinks) to bring you this: our Celebrity Treasure Island 2022 predictions based entirely on chip preferences.
A note on process: As with all rigorous experiments eg Sensing Murder, both Chapman and Henderson were given no information about the contestants prior to seeing the results, and each name was concealed to avoid any unconscious bias.
SALIVATING FOR SALT AND VINEGAR
“These are the normies, the alphas,” said Henderson. “If they are allowed to form alliances and control the game they will be hard to beat, but individually they may be vulnerable.” Chapman agreed. “There’s a sense of pragmatism with this lot,” she said, before singling out former All Black Ron Cribb for fretting “is there a sponsor thing there” when asked which was his favourite brand. Chapman speculated worrying about sponsor requirements makes him a “narc”, but added that he will probably “go far with that attitude.”
RANDY FOR READY SALTED
“Old school man, I’m not one of these new kids with their fancy nachos,” ranted Mike King when asked about his favourite chippy treat. “None of this cheese and bacon cheddar and feta. Fuck your feta.” Henderson sensed that this contestant could be “a valuable, if potentially toxic, asset to their team”, advising fellow contestants to “be careful”. Chapman also pointed out that this person did not actually answer with a flavour at any point, but simply a brand. Do NOT tell Ron Cribb.
Lynette Forday, Shortland Street icon, first answered with “Grain Waves” but then, after musing that she might “get too dehydrated”, pivoted to a classic – “just plain, ready salted, plain crinkle.” Chapman was perplexed by the dramatic zag: “I can’t help but think a plain ready salted would dehydrate you more than a Grain Wave. This is a cautious person who won’t know how to form an alliance.” Henderson sensed “worrywart tendencies” and indications of a “slight puritanical streak” in this answer, concluding that this person “might not last the distance on CTI”.
Perlina Lau, star of Creamerie and Flat 3, struggled with her answer before settling among the salt baes. “This is hard,” she mused, “because over lockdown I really got into the Snackachangis…” Then, just like Forday, she returned to her salt of the Earth values. “Maybe I would have to go with Kettles, ready salted. Old school, classic.” Chapman predicted a “sturdy, strong” competitor who “won’t win but will be good at the challenges”. Henderson sensed this was the answer of someone “on the verge of a personal epiphany” for whom the CTI experience might serve as “an Outward Bound style voyage of self-discovery”.
Rounding out the salty sea celebs is Dame Susan Devoy, who said that she would take “Eta ripples, plain flavour… and Kiwi Onion Dip.” The Spinoff was in awe of her gumption at also taking a dip, but bowed to her request as she purports to be a so-called “Dame” and we didn’t want to get in trouble with the Queen. Our panel of experts were also taken aback. “Chaos vibes choosing Eta,” said Chapman. “Preferring Eta over Bluebird suggests this person has a maverick streak,” said Henderson, who thought that also choosing a dip revealed “a sharp tactical mind”. He predicted Devoy would be “very good” at CTI.
CHANTING FOR CHICKEN
“Chicken chip fans always assume they’re in the minority, but it’s actually one of the most popular flavours,” mused Henderson, commending Olympian Dylan Schmidt for his straightforward answer. (“Chicken. Normal. Bluebird chicken chips.”) “I think this person will bring a no-nonsense approach to the game and could surprise a lot of people.” Likewise, Chapman respected Schmidt’s honesty, and also praised Alex King’s choice of Honey Soy Chicken. “Not a super popular choice, which suggests a willingness to eat alone. This person will do well in challenges but may struggle to make friends.”
Cam Mansel: Wood Fired BBQ Copper Kettle Chips
“I am a massive sucker for chicken chips…” ZM host Mansel began. “Actually, no, I am changing it. BBQ Kettles. BBQ Kettles.” It was a sharp pivot that caught the attention of our expert panel. “Chicken chips and BBQ Kettles aren’t that close on the palate,” said Chapman. “This person is unpredictable. Be warned.” Henderson noted a consistent theme of “strong flavours”, predicting that this contestant’s game tactics may be “similarly bold”.
Elvis Lopeti: Bluebird Thick Cut Crispy Bacon
“It would have to be a Bluebird bacon and… what’s that flavour?” TikTok dance sensation Elvis Lopeti paused. “Bacon… something.” We have to assume that Lopeti is referring to Bluebird Crispy Bacon here, but our experts were shocked by the vagueness of the answer. “This person seems forgetful,” said Henderson. “Considering how important it is to keep track of all the little schemes you’re running on CTI, this could put their team in serious jeopardy.” Chapman was less diplomatic in her feedback: “To not know the name of your supposed favourite chip is cause for concern. That the chip in question has bacon in the name is cause for elimination.”
Siobhan Marshall: Macro Lentil Bites Cruzin’ Carrot
The Outrageous Fortune star put our research department to work with her answer. “I am currently buying these carrot lentil chips for my three-year-old and they are actually really yummy,” she said. “They taste like those Cobb and Co things from back in the day.” After some extensive modelling and data visualisation, we unearthed Macro Lentil Bites Cruzin’ Carrot, the kid-friendly cartoon and mini bags suggesting they would be perfect for a wee bairn.
But our judges were not as charmed by the anthropomorphised carrot. “Notice how they didn’t actually answer the question?” Henderson pointed out immediately. “This person is a master of deflection … I predict this quality will serve them well on CTI.” Chapman chose to focus more on the personal situation of the celebrity, noting that the fact they have a three-year-old means “they will consider this whole thing a lovely holiday and go far as a result.”
Guy Montgomery: Rosemary and Thyme Proper Crisps
“And here’s the crazy thing: they’re not even my favourite chips, but they are the ones I always buy,” said Billy T award-winning comedian Guy Montgomery. “I like the strong flavour because it means I self-regulate.” Both judges were impressed by the display of “admirable self-knowledge” and “terrifying willpower” contained within this answer. “But it also reveals a tendency to overthink,” said Henderson. “This could prove to be their undoing on CTI.”
Shimpal Lelisi: Bluebird Thin Cut Sour Cream and Chives
The Naked Samoan cut straight to the point: “Sour cream and chives, those thin ones.” Chapman, who placed any thin-cut varietal at 112-109 in her chip rankings in 2019, was bamboozled. “Fascinating choice. Honestly don’t even know what to think about this one. Am too scared to comment.” Henderson, on the other hand, got a stronger read from such a thin answer. “This is the chip of a deceptively shrewd and canny competitor, who I predict will fly under the radar in this competition.”
Dr Joel Rindelaub: Proper Crisp Pineapple Tortilla Chips
“Definitely some sort of tortilla chip,” the celebrity scientist opined. “Proper Crisp just came out with a new line of tortilla chips and they do a pineapple salsa one. Boom, sign me up.” It tracks that a scientist would be this experimental, but what did our experts think? “This person is clearly an influencer and very good at it, but if I were their teammate I might question whether they were ‘there for the right reasons’” said Henderson. Chapman agreed. “Namedropping a new line of chips is morally questionable. They’ll do well but only to a point (not the final).”
Melodie Robinson: Green Onion Bluebird Originals
“This person is likely from the South Island and therefore an honest, humble, hardworking champion,” said Henderson. “Great choice,” Chapman added, “will be a fan favourite on the show I’m sure.”
Te Kohe Tuhaka: Snackachangi Sour Cream Chive & Onion
“Snackachangi are the best potato crisp out at the moment, and the flavour would have to be the sour cream,” the Deadlands actor answered with unwavering confidence. After questioning whether this celebrity was in fact Snackachangi mogul Leigh Hart himself, Henderson asserted that “this person loves being correct, and their unbendable nature could see them clash with teammates.” Chapman, who wrote in 2020 that this was the best chip flavour in the entire country, only had two words to describe Tuhaka: “The winner”.
Eds Eramiha: Ghost chips
“I don’t eat chips,” the Vegas actor laughed handsomely in The Spinoff’s face. “Does it look like I eat chips?” Granted it does not look like he eats chips, but needless to say our judges did not take kindly to this anti-chip response. “How was this person even allowed into the competition in the first place?” Chapman spat. “This person is clearly not to be trusted,” Henderson sneered. “I would recommend eliminating them at the first opportunity.”
Next week: We go to town on the celebrities’ desert island music choices with help from former music critic Duncan Greive. Celebrity Treasure Island comes to TVNZ2 in September.