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30 Minutes With….

…Kirsty Shillingford, Shillingfords, Neath, West Glamorgan

Where do you see the fish and chip industry in the next 10 years? 

Obviously still the best British takeaway! I think the best fish and chip shops will set the industry at a much higher standard over the next 10 years. We’ve got accolades like the NFFF Quality Award, the National Fish and Chip Awards and Fry Magazine’s 50 Best, which all contribute to setting a high benchmark for current and new, up-and-coming shops. I would like to see the merger of the NFFF Quality Award with the FSA’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme as I think this would encourage more shops to get the QA award which, in turn, will result in said shops being of a high standard in areas such as cleanliness, service and produce. Hopefully more shops will embrace MSC certification and, in general, I think we’ll see them become posher, if that’s the right word, with things like higher spec packaging.

How did you get into the industry?

When I was 16, I worked in a fish and chip shop as my first part time job while still studying. Working there I met my now husband Allan and within a few years he sold the shop that he ran with his parents to a housing  association. We married five years later and opened our brand new shop together called Shillingfords, which is just next door to his previous shop. 

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

My husband. He seems to get all the easy jobs in the shop while I'm working from home doing all the important aspects of running a fish and chip shop and looking after our two sets of twins!

What’s your favourite film?

The Bodyguard. Whitney Houston was one of my favourite singers and the sound track is definitely one of my favourites. 

What was the first music single/album you bought?

One of Whitney Houston’s albums. I'll be showing my age if I tell you which one!

Do you have a nickname?

Well, I’ve managed to keep all my childhood nicknames a secret so I'll just tell you that some of my team call me ‘Bossy-boots’. I’m not sure if that's because I'm the boss or because I'm bossy. I daren’t ask!

What did you want to be as a child?

I wanted to be a midwife. I've always loved being with babies and children. But I decided to have four children myself instead.

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

I'd have all the past winners of the National Fish and Chip Awards come and make one big talented team.

What’s your favourite food?

Can I say a nice lamb Sunday lunch? With all the trimmings and homemade Yorkshire puds. Or should I be promotional and say fish and chips?

What sports team do you support?

I don't follow sport at all. I'll say Liverpool to keep Allan happy.

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

I would have loved to have gone to a Whitney Houston or Micheal Jackson concert, so I’ll say them. I wouldn't really be bothered about asking them anything. I would just like to watch them in a live concert.

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

Oh, what a question. Definitely help the NHS so that our hospitals are not so understaffed, and also help our police, fire and ambulance men and women with better pay and more time off. I would also like to see increased support for small businesses. With SSP, National Living Wage and pensions all increasing, it takes a huge knock on us little guys 

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

I'm going to be very truthful here and say I wouldn't want to go back in time at all. I think the best things are yet to come. I always try to look ahead, well unless I could go back to the morning of last Friday and pick the wining Euro Millions lottery numbers!

Do you have any hobbies?

My children are my hobbies. All of my time is spent with them.

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

What are your best frying tips? 

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