The British Chippy
Tom Kerridge and his “Last meal on earth”
Several gastropubs and celebrity chefs all over the UK are trying to revitalise fish and chips and make it the latest thing once again.
Renowned English chef Tom Kerridge, who runs the two Michelin starred Hand and Flowers in Marlow, Bucks, has even famously said that his “last meal on earth” would be cod and chips brought in a takeaway in his district in Linden, Gloucestershire called Danny Dykes.
Thanks to the support and full backing of these celebrity chefs, the hot English dish has undergone a reinvention by focusing more on using natural and simple ingredients. Before its re-emergence, it had suffered a decline during the beginning of the century and many fish and chips retailers closed because of health concerns and the inclination of Brits towards low-fat diets.
The National Federation of Fish Fryers (NFFF) recently reported that more than 2,000 new chippies have launched for the past ten years. By 2013, the number of chippies that have launched went up to 10,500, surpassing McDonald’s, who have 1,200, and KFC, with only 840.
Back in the day, fish and chips establishments were mostly in slimy corner-shops in the markets. In today’s times, however, these establishments have evolved into more efficient, sanitary and more proficient establishments.
The recent success of the fish and chips restaurants and shops can be attributed to the much more stylish and slickest form and the penchant for more natural and simple foods.
Leading the way for the fish and chips’ revival was celebrity chef Rick Stein, who first launched a fish and chips bar in Padstow, Cornwall, as well as several fish-related restaurants and shops in town.
Notorious MasterChef judge Gordon Ramsay is even intending on opening his own fish and chips restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada called ‘Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips’ sometime in spring of 2015.
“It’s great to see such high-profile people talking about fish and chips and it demonstrates how far the industry has come,” said Andrew Cook, the treasurer of the NFFF. He adds: “We are seeing a change in the demographic of fish and chip shop owners, [more] younger people are coming into the trade, all bringing new ideas.”
Back in the 1920s, the fish and chips’ fame had hit its pinnacle with over 30,000 fish and chip shops were operating all around the UK. However, the number of shops had descended to 8,600 by 2003 because of fears of the high level of fat content found in these dishes as well as the rise of other fast food chains.
As of this year, UK splurges on #1.2bn on fish and chips, which is equal to 382 million pieces or six annual servings for a man, a woman and a child.
“Fish and chips are so ingrained in the hearts of the British public,” said Mr Crook of the NFFF. “And with so many celebrity chefs keen to serve our iconic dish, fish and chips are here to stay” he concluded.