A few weeks ago, I joined my lovely colleague (James the Sales Manager) to train the wonderful family at Fish Kitchen 1854 on their new Florigo Frying Range.
The shop had a few finishing touches to make before opening but still looked stunning, with a really stylish interior.
The family were keen and excited to learn before opening their first fish and chip shop. They cooked up their first batch of fish and chips and instantly went to all the neighbouring businesses to show off the delicious product (speaking as a fellow taster, it was delicious). It was an enjoyable day and made us even more excited to see the business flourish when it opens!
As Fish Kitchen 1854 are just starting out, we want to help them get the word out and show the industry what they’re all about! So we asked Lee Humphreys a few questions about his experience so far and what’s to come.
What inspired you to open a Fish and Chip Shop?
I have very fond memories of fish and chips since being a child. Some of my most treasured memories were going to our local fish and chip and having fish and chips, and chicken and chips. I used to love being given a coloured plastic fork with a chip on!
We as a family have always enjoyed fish and chips, so when the chance to purchase our property became available, the opportunity was too good to turn down.
We thought long and hard about our brand and many names were considered. My daughter’s favourite was “The Fairy Codmother” which had a certain charm, but we always wanted a unique brand to us. My wife’s Uncle Colin was helping us with names over supper and I can credit him for Fish Kitchen. I always wanted to incorporate an element of localness in our name and that’s where the 1854 part was born. A very important part of our history is Maesycwmmer Viaduct, which is situated directly outside our shop; 1854 was when it was built, and Fish Kitchen 1854 was born!
What made you choose Florigo?
In 1 word, Millers, and in particular, David Miller. If it’s good enough for him it’s good enough for us! Also, the Triple Filtration System which is unique to Florigo ranges really appealed to us.
Can you tell us a bit more about you and your day to day life?
Not quite sure where to start to be honest. I am a Deputy Headteacher in a High School in Cardiff South Wales, and my wife is a professional singer, my father is a builder, and my mother is a stewardess in the local rugby club. We have two children, Scarlett and Joseph, who keep us constantly busy with activities. Apart from that, we are pretty boring, to be honest. Then again, the most interesting fact about our family is that our daughter Scarlett was the original baby Neil in the hit TV show Gavin and Stacey. So yes, baby Neil was a girl!
What’s been the most challenging part of your Fish and Chip journey so far?
With my father coming from the building industry, the refurbishment of the shop even though time-consuming has been relatively painless. The smallest of details such as scaling up my father’s home-made tartar sauce recipe, caused him a number of sleepless nights. For me, the most exciting part and challenging part is going into an industry that we have no experience in. Saying that, the support we have been given from the team at Florigo has been amazing. Also, support from others within the industry such as the National Federation of fish fryers for the outstanding training and advice, Matthew at The Crispy Cod, and Lee and John Penaluna from Penaluna ‘s famous fish and chips has been outstanding!
Describe your shop in 3 words.
Eco-Friendly (hyphenated, but still one word!)
Quality – ingredients (same as above!)
What’s your favourite chippy dish?
I am a traditionalist, and nothing beats Fish and Chips with mushy peas and tartar sauce. However, I am very partial to a correctly cooked chicken; one that’s not dry and that I can dip into gravy or curry sauce. Saying that my wife and I were in Camden Town and I had THE most outstanding Rock and Chips! I would love to bring this to our shop in Wales!
What does it mean to you to contribute to the local community?
Everything! We are local people from a close-knit local community. Our goal is quite simple, we want to buy the best potatoes, the best fish, cook them in the best oil and of course in the best possible range; hopefully the rest will take care of itself.
Do you have anything special on the menu?
We are open to engaging our community in trying new things, but ultimately traditional fish and chips are the best, so for us in the early stage of our project, getting this to be the best it can possibly be is at the forefront of our minds. Saying that, we love making our own Mushy Peas and Tartar Sauce, and my mother’s chicken curry off the bone is amazing! Even so, we are open to expanding our vegetarian range and in the near future looking at the possibilities of adding more gluten-free products/days onto our menu. We also have very close links with our local fitness centre Planet Fitness. Therefore, we are looking to develop a range that could entice people who are looking to have a low-calorie takeaway option to come to our shop.
What do you see for the future of Fish Kitchen 1854?
At this moment in time, we are solely focused on the opening of the shop and getting into routines to ultimately provide the best product we can. Saying that, we would like to open a second shop if successful at this and you never know; in a perfect world I would like to see the Fish Kitchen brand in every town or village in Wales! Just don’t tell my wife!