Winston Churchill called them ‘the good companions’. John Lennon smothered his in tomato ketchup. Michael Jackson liked them with mushy peas. Actress Kate Winslet and footballers Wayne Rooney and John Terry all served them at their weddings and Sir Paul McCartney used to love tucking into them before he became a vegetarian.
Like Morecambe & Wise, Ant & Dec, Wallace & Gromit, Sutton Harbour & The Barbican…..fish and chips are a classic double act and Plymouth’s waterfront is growing a reputation for hosting some of the UK’s finest retailers of all.
Dickens was an early advocate of the trade recounting 'Husky chips of potatoes, fried with some ‘reluctant drops of oil' in 'A Tale of two Cities', published in 1859 and reference to a ‘fried fish warehouse’ in Oliver Twist. However, the fried fish and cooked potato trades had existed for many years before this.
Jewish immigrants first introduced Fried fish to London from Portugal and Spain probably as far back as the 17th Century. American President Thomas Jefferson once described eating 'fried fish in the Jewish fashion' on a visit to the capital at the end of the 18th Century.
Henry Mayhew cited it as the food of the poor in 1861 and indeed, from the 1880's onto the post-war years, fish and chips nourished people who could just about afford it, providing a meal that all the family could share as a crucial addition to the most basic of diets.
By 1910 there were perhaps 25,000 fish and chip shops around the country, peaking at 35,000 by 1927 and between the wars most industrial towns boasted a fish and chip shop on almost every street, often tiled with a little café area welcoming the regulars to share conversation over the big meal of the week.
British soldiers identified each other during the 'D' Day landings by calling out 'fish' and the response or password was 'chips'.
In the 21st Century fish and chip shops use 10% of the UK's potato crop and 30% of all white fish sold in the UK and the industry generates a turnover of around £1.2 billion every year. A total of 62% of fish sold in fish and chip shops is cod and 25% is haddock.
The National Fish and Chip Awards are a platform for generating publicity and raising standards that provide a benchmark for others. 11,000 fish and chip shops across the UK enter each year and one from each region is selected as a winner of each category. This year, two fish and chip shops from the Sutton Harbour and Barbican area of Plymouth have come out as champions.
Celebrity Chef Mitch Tonks’ Rockfish restaurants have been voted as the winners in this year’s Seafish Industry Awards as Best Multiple operator and for their Community Contribution. See here for more > http://bit.ly/1Brtf0D
Harbourside Fish and Chips on The Barbican has been named Best Independent Fish & Chip Shop in South and South West England and also received the Healthy Eating Fish & Chip Award 2015.
With 10 regions in the UK this means that they are now one of the top 10 shops in Britain! Their reputation has been earned by using all natural ingredients, fresh fish from Plymouth Fisheries across the harbour, the season’s best hand selected potatoes chipped daily and homemade mushy peas with no added ingredients.
Tom Hughes from Harbourside Fish and Chips features in this film produced by The National Fish and Chip Awards and Seafish. You can see him at 03:08 and 12.28 minutes and Sutton Harbour Master and Head of Plymouth Fisheries, Pete Bromley, at 07.55 minutes. http://beardaskew.tv/film/road-awards-national-fish-chip-awards-2015/