Valerie Johnson BEM – A woman of many achievements in the Fish & Chip industry!

It’s finally here, the Fish & Chip Awards week! To get ourselves even more excited, we had to talk to the one and only Valerie Johnson from Frankie’s Fish and Chips in Brae, Shetland.

Valerie is a multi-award winning figure and has had some truly impressive achievements in her career. As a real inspiration in the food and drink industry, we grabbed the opportunity to chat with Valerie about her experiences, just in time for the next awards.

If you’re looking to get inspired on this blue Monday, then you have come to the right blog post!

In 2015 you won the Fish & Chip Shop of the Year at the National Fish and Chip Awards! How did it feel to win this award?

To be crowned the Fish and Chip Shop of the Year at the National Fish & Chip Awards in 2015 was a great honour and experience and it launched an incredible year for Frankie’s.  This accolade was also an exceptional achievement for our staff who had worked extremely hard since Frankie’s opened in 2008. We were especially proud to bring this award back to Shetland and to our small community of Brae.

What advice would you give to people entering the Fish & Chip awards?

Whether a traditional or modern shop, anyone can enter the National Fish & Chip Awards, irrelevant of size or location. These awards provide a huge platform to showcase your business whilst promoting the industry. I encourage all business owners who are considering this to view the categories and complete an entry form. I don’t think you will have any regrets. Owning a successful shop and business with excellent customer service, quality produce and business operating systems enable you to enter the awards with confidence… what are you waiting for!

How did winning the award affect your business?

As national winners, 2015 was a fantastic year for us at Frankie’s.  Winning the coveted title presented us with exciting opportunities, including being invited to Japan and it was an honour to showcase our award-wining fish and chips on a global scale and to many Japanese consumers. We still have customers from worldwide destinations arriving at Frankie’s in Shetland after hearing about our success through social media.  Winning the awards and continuing to gain the NFFF Quality Award keeps everyone on their toes and inspires us and our staff to keep up our high standards.

What made you choose a Florigo frying range? How did it manage with any extra custom?

We were looking for a business with a proven and successful history and Florigo was an established name in the fish and chip industry.

The Florigo fryer is a good quality, solidly built range and looks great in our shop and has remained an integral part of our business and served us well over the past ten years during many very busy periods.

Our friers are very happy with our range and they use it with confidence.  It performs well and produces first class fish and chips with excellent batter.  This range continues to be a great asset in our shop.

You not only won a Fish & Chip Award, but you also won another incredible award. A British Empire Medal (BEM) in Her Majesty’s Birthday Honours for your services to the food and drink industry in Shetland. We can imagine this was an overwhelming achievement, how has life changed since your BEM? What did this mean to you?

I was very surprised and honoured to have been nominated and to receive the BEM for services to food and drink and charity work in Shetland.  This award also highlighted the fantastic work done by our staff and the fish catching and shellfish industries in Shetland – without the supreme quality of sustainable seafood they produce we would not have been able to achieve what we have at Frankie’s.

It also reflected well on the community here in Shetland which has been fantastically supportive of what we have done, not only with the shop but when it comes to the charity and other events that we have been involved in over the years.

What do you see for the future of Frankie’s Fish & Chips?

Due to our location in Shetland which is surrounded by the rich and abundant waters of the North Sea, Frankie’s puts great importance on working along with local suppliers ensuring all raw ingredients are sustainable, traceable and natural. With sustainable policies in place and a clear vision, there are now many opportunities for fish and chip shops to reduce their carbon footprint and enjoy an exciting future along with us.

A hardworking and committed seafood sector and dedicated staff are vital elements in ensuring that Frankie’s, and many great fish and chip shops within our industry showcase, promote and sell an outstanding product.  Frankie’s are proud to source and serve certified sustainable fish and chips to our customers and to future generations.

Frankies Fish & Chips has a fun, active social media worth checking out. See below!

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Maddi Powell

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