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30 Minutes With....

Tiffany Irvin, co-owner, The Fish Works, Largs, North Ayrshire

What would you like to change in our industry?

Being new to the industry there isn’t a lot I would like to change. I haven’t known an industry like it, everyone is so friendly and helpful. Our shop has been open since May 2017 (complete novices to fish and chips) and the support and tips we have had from other chip shop owners and agencies has been outstanding. I would like to help promote the understanding that fish and chips is not an ‘unhealthy’ takeaway and, if eaten as part of a healthy diet, can provide vitamin C, vitamins B6 and B12, some iron, zinc and calcium, as well as iodine, omega-3 fatty acid and dietary fibre.

How did you get into the industry?

I was originally a primary school teacher but took leave to have children and help run my husband’s family business, an ice cream shop and sweetie shop on the seafront in Largs. We loved going to visit different great fish and chip shops as a family on our days off and one day made the decision to open our own one in the location of our sweet shop. We had to save money and plan for five years but, last year, we finally made it happen and it was one of the best decisions we have made.   

If you could change jobs with anyone else for the day who would it be?

A top surgeon for the day. I know it would be really stressful but I work well under pressure and would love to do a job really makes a difference to a person or family. Having the ability to save someone’s life must be a gift. 

What’s your favourite film?

Forrest Gump. It has so many great life lessons in it but it’s also just a great movie.

What was the first music single you bought?

Kylie Minogue’s The Loco-Motion in 1988. Yes, feel free to laugh, but I was five and I remember being taken to buy the cassette so I could practice my dance moves before going to see her in concert. 

Do you have a nickname?

I don’t have a nickname - or not one I know about anyway! I’m pretty sure some of The Fish Works team have called me a dragon when I have a breakdown on a busy day. But we have a great team and they know I appreciate them all so they let my meltdowns slide. 

What did you want to be as a child?

A marine biologist right until it came to completing my UCAS form for uni, then I decided to go into software engineering. I’m still not sure what made me change my mind, maybe being 18 and thinking of the salary differences. At least I’m still doing my bit for the oceans by ensuring we use sustainably sourced fish in our shop. 

If you could have anyone join your team who would it be?

KFE’s Gordon Hillan. The man is a fountain of knowledge and he has been worth his weight in gold to us. I call him anytime we hit a problem or snag and he always has the answer. He has also introduced us to so many great people in the industry and through this we have so many new friends and people who are always here to give us advice.


What’s your favourite food?

I feel like I should say fish and chips but I am a steak and chips gal - and you can’t beat some pepper sauce!

What sports team do you support?

My husband and two sons support Liverpool so I wouldn’t dream of supporting another team.

If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Marvin Gaye and I would ask him if there was any chance of him singing Got To Give It Up. It’s my all time favourite song and I would love to hear the man himself sing it live. 

If you were Prime Minister for a day what’s the first thing you would do?

I would definitely try to help small business more. Everyday you hear about large companies finding loopholes to avoid paying tax and a multitude of other things, while small local businesses that employ local people and use local suppliers are being dragged over the coals trying to make it all fit. 

If you could go back in time what year would you choose?

The early ’70s as my sister and I were brought up listening to soul and Motown so I reckon I would have had the best time. I would have probably gone from gig to gig.

Do you have any hobbies?

I don’t have any proper hobbies but I am a foodie and I love going on holiday and seeing different places and sampling the food and cultures. Also, living in Scotland there is nothing better than a fresh hike with the family and the dog. It’s one of my favourite things.

What question would you like to ask our next “30 minutes with”? 

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?

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