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Chicken Charlie, Southern California's deep-fry king

September 2, 2009 |  6:10 am

Chicken Charlie (a.k.a. Charles Boghosian) holds deep-fried frog legs. He sells about 2,000 legs during a typical, three-week county fair. Inspired by the Armenian dishes his mother cooked, Charlie Boghosian, better known to fairgoers as Chicken Charlie, decided to put his culinary talents to use. Instead of stuffing vegetables with ground beef, rice and pine nuts, Boghosian hollowed out a zucchini, stuffed it with a turkey frank, battered and deep-fried it.

Voila! The Zucchini Weenie was born.

Introduced at this year's Orange Count Fair and soon to be on sale at the L.A. County Fair (Saturday to Oct. 4), it’s only the latest concoction from a man who has single-mindedly devoted himself to the dark art of the deep fryer.

Over the last decade, Southern California's deep fry king has battered and deep-fried pickles, olives, s'mores, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Twinkies, cheesecake, cupcakes, frog legs, White Castle cheeseburgers, Oreos, avocados and more.

How did an immigrant with dreams of going into law enforcement take a detour and end up as Southern California's deep-fry king? Click here to find out. (And click here for our photo essay on the fried fare at last year's fair.)

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Chicken Charlie (a.k.a. Charlie Boghosian) with deep-fried frog legs. He sells about 2,000 legs during a typical three-week county fair. Credit: Ken Hively  / Los Angeles. Times