We’re very excited to launch a new series of articles: Behind the scenes of …
On a regular basis (we’re not committing to a definite schedule in case the series flops and this is the only one) we will contact British institutions — such as a fish and chip shop — and ask the hard questions that no one dares to explore.
It will be groundbreaking, truly insightful and, yes, sometimes we’ll walk the editorial tightrope of pure fear and excitment to bring you the scoop on information that you’ve always wanted to know — but never had a Brit blog to take care of for you.
That changes now.
So, without further link bait ado, let’s go behind the scenes of a fish and chip shop!
To help us in our quest, Kevin from Sea Witch Fish and Chips very kindly agreed to answer our thought-provoking, deep and probing questions.
Although not a Brit, Kevin describes himself as, “A pretty typical Canadian: a mix of a medley of immigrants. Fell in love with Britpop in the early ’90s. Toured the indie record shops in the north a fair bit. That, and fish and chips, is about as British as I get.”
But that’s totally acceptable; he runs a fish and chip shop.
Hold tight as we go … behind the scenes.
How long does the oil take to cool down and how often is it changed?
I have a system for “seasoning” the grease in the different fryers. Loosely, I remove a fair bit and add at least 40 lbs of pure rendered beef dripping every morning. As for how long it takes to cool down … I’m pretty sure you could dip your finger in it an hour after we close, but we’re long gone before it is “cool.”
What’s the most popular type of battered fish do you sell?
In Canada, halibut is still king. And it will always be that way until it approaches the $20/order mark — which is coming soon. Although, as the price climbs, haddock sometimes comes close … but never surpasses.
What happens to unsold food? Is it just thrown away or given to charities or organizations?
Happily, we don’t waste anything. I’ve been doing this for a while and, I guess, have learned how to prep enough without wasting.
For fish, I’d rather sell out of one or two — we have five types on the menu — than throw some out.
For spuds, if there are any blanched ones left at the end of the day, one of us will take them home and make a hash out of them in the morn. Taters blanched in beef and finished in bacon fat? Yes please!
Why is it always served in newspaper? Why not in a magazine or on an e-reader or something?
Hey, chips wrapped in an e-reader is a perfectly good waste of chips. As you know, the newspaper wrap is one of the vestiges of a working class meal. Cheap eats served on a free supply of packaging.
Sadly, fish isn’t so cheap anymore.
Any plans to get pickled eggs or curry chip sauce on the menu for the Brit palate?
In my experience, items like these are nostalgically mentioned occasionally but are not actually requested with any frequency. Like mushy peas. And Salad Cream for a chip butty. Scraps, bits. And kebab vans.
What’s the one surprising thing about a fish and chip shop that the punters don’t know?
This is a great question. Unfortunately, my top 10 answers can only be shared over pints! On the record, though, all fish ‘n’ chippers, after a time, eat things with legs, not gills.
So there you have it. We broke the news about the price of halibut going up and that — woe is us — staples like mushy peas are not frequently requested.
So, thanks to Kevin, and we’re off for a lie down while we digest these revelations. Until the next behind the scenes of …