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30 Minutes With...

...Gary Moreton-Jones, The Fisherman's Kitchen, Portsmouth, Southsea, Hampshire

If you could charge any price for fish and chips what would you say is fair and what size portions would you consider reasonable? I think when it comes to the cost of fish and chips it’s all about value for money. We hope our customers feel that they get a quality product cooked with care for a good price. We have recently put on a £5 lunch menu which is going down really well and customers seem to enjoy a lunch size portion of fish and chips for a fiver.

How did you get into the industry? I’ve been a chef in some great top end restaurants since the early ‘90s and the move into the fish and chip industry last year has felt like a great one. Our fresh look at the local chippy seems to have been received really well. And it’s great using skills I developed as a chef to create different flavoured batters as well as different ketchups that still work really well with fish and chips.

If you could change jobs with anyone else for the day who would it be? I think it would probably be a food critique or food blogger. That seems like a pretty good life, eating and writing.

What’s your favourite film? Back to the Future. I’ve watched it more times than I can remember, it reminds me of sitting in front of the TV on Christmas Day with the whole family for the blockbuster to start. What a film, it never gets old.

What was the first music single you bought? This is a question I try to avoid but it was Hole in my Shoe by Neil. I was a massive Young Ones fan. My second single was Fools Gold by Stone Roses if that pulls back some cool points!

Do you have a nickname? The only one I have ever really had was Biscuit from my days as a pastry chef. I used to make a wicked custard cream. 

What did you want to be as a child? Growing up I always wanted to cook. My dad was a gardener and we often spent times on the family farm. I loved seeing how food went from the land to the plate, I ’m a proper food geek! 

If you could have anyone join your team who would it be? I would love the chef Thomas Keller from the French Laundry to come in to the Kitchen and see how he would put fish and chips together Keller-style.

What’s your favourite food? I love the combination of a full English breakfast. I use the principles of combining the richness of an egg yolk, saltiness of bacon, sweetness of ketchup and fatty carbo hydrate from hash browns in every dish I put together, especially fish and chip dishes. 

What sports team do you support? The only sport I play and watch is golf. I opened a coffee shop for Chris Robshaw, the English rugby captain, a couple of years ago but I had no idea who he was when we first met!

If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you ask them? I would love to sit down with Winston Churchill over a fish supper. He was an amazing man, a huge hero and a straight talker. That would be a meeting to remember. I loved his strength of character leadership and decision making. 

If you were Prime Minister for a day what’s the first thing you would do? I have lots of opinions on Brexit, as I am sure most have. I’m really proud to be British and I think we have a great country. So as Prime Minister, moving into 2019, I think I would put policies in place to support local businesses and to rebuild the British farming and fishing industries. 

If you could go back in time what year would you choose?
 Probably to the streets of London in 1900 as I would love to see the difference 100 years has made. What I would really like to do though is go forward 50 years and see what the local high streets look like with more people doing their shopping online.

Do you have any hobbies? I have five kids so my hobby is driving them to their hobbies! I love traveling and eating in nice restaurants. The wife and I had a great trip to Amsterdam recently and we made sure we went to the Seafood Restaurant, the Netherlands' number one fish and chip shop, as well as checking out all the flavours from the famous loaded chip shop. 

What question would you like to ask our next “30 minutes with”?  What are your thoughts on high potato prices this year? Do you expect prices to come back down to what they once were? And what have you done to deal with the price increase?

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