From a passioniate family that have a truly interesting history with seafood, Lee Roberts carries on the family business with multiple successful seafood establishments.
Lee Roberts is the director at Boothwood Ltd, who operate food led pubs and restaurants such as Catch Seafood in Halifax. They operate seafood restaurants and takeaways such as Durham Lane Fisheries, which is a newly opened fish and chip takeaway with a fish counter offering a varied choice of specials in addition to fish and chips. Lee is also with Sailbrand Ltd, who are wholesale fish merchants that supply upwards of 1500 restaurants per week.
You were brought up in a family passionate about fresh seafood, what made you want to carry on the family business? When did you realise this was also your passion?
I would liken being born into a family that makes a living in the fish industry to farming. It’s a way of life rather than a job ! I did leave the fish trade for a few years but returned to it once I realised I missed the industry.
What are the 3 most important factors that you believe are essential in running a successful seafood business?
Relentless hard work, especially at the start and when times aren’t going to plan. Constant attention to customer service and quality of product, but most important of all, surround yourself with quality staff and partners, you can’t do it alone!
What’s your favourite seafood dish to cook and to eat?
Such a hard question due to the choice available to me (being a fish wholesaler), but to be honest, a fantastically fresh piece of thick haddock fillet in thin crispy batter with some overcooked chips is up there with the fine dining dishes that I could name.
What made you choose Florigo Frying Equipment for your kitchen?
Florigo ranges help us produce the product we aim for consistently, especially when we are busy, not just when its quiet.
How do your chefs get on with the Florigo equipment?
Chefs are usually familiar with single well, small power output stand alone or table top fryers , so when they consider the difference to Florigo, it’s a no brainer.
What different food do you fry using your Florigo, aside from the classic dish of Fish and Chips?
Squid, Fish cakes, Hake, Haggis, King Prawns, Sausages etc, Scallops
What have you found the most challenging part of running multiple businesses?
Maintaining Consistency of service and product , during peak trading periods
What advice would you give to those who are considering opening a seafood business?
Find a great supplier and use them to enhance your offer. Ask what’s seasonal, what to buy and when, but more importantly, what NOT to buy and when (some products double in price as demand for the item increases due to short supply). Don’t fix your menus so that they can’t be amended when prices dictate and alternative species would offer more profit, keep it flexible.
What does the future hold for Lee Roberts?
I’m not a believer of long term goals, life has a funny way of changing your plans and expectations, so just take the days as they arrive.
‘Do you know how to make God laugh? …Tell him all your plans…’