Unofficially starting in the trade when he was just four, 23-year-old George Ellinas is now manager at The Golden Carp Chippy in Redditch, Worcestershire, overseeing a team of 12
Being born into the fish and chip industry has been a privilege, but my passion began way back when I was four years old and I started to help my parents out by stocking the pop fridge and filling up the salt and vinegar bottles.
Obviously, health and safety wasn’t such an issue back in the ‘90s! I got a lot of attention from the customers and loved the whole atmosphere of being in the shop. As I grew older, my passion never faltered. I always continued to help out in the shop, learning how to cut and prepare fresh fish and how to distinguish between a good and bad potato by checking the sugar content is lower than 0.25% as the more sugar, the browner the chip when cooked.
I’m sure everyone is fully aware of how bad the crops of potatoes have been this year after last year’s hot weather, which made the potatoes smaller and full of blemishes and bruises. Thankfully, over the last couple of weeks, we have seen a massive difference and, finally, we have some much better quality and larger sizes coming through.
Something else I’ve learned over the years is that cooking the perfect fish and chips at the correct temperature is vital. The fish needs to steam in the batter and can only do this at the right temperature.
Now I am 23-years-old and I manage our family shop, The Golden Carp Chippy in Redditch. Last year, I entered the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year competition and came in the top 10. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, although I was very aware that I wasn’t ready to win the title. However, the things I did learn have given me much more confidence to try again next year.
I have also encouraged our employee Tia to enter as I feel she has the ability and the drive to want to prove she is good enough for the title. Unfortunately, I cannot enter this year as I will be in Australia during the judging process visiting my best friend, so I wish Tia and all those that have put themselves forward all the best of luck. It’s a great experience and one that you will come away from having learned so much more.
Managing a shop myself has lead me to focus on growing and developing a good, reliable and hardworking team around me. Two or three times a year we have staff training days and we have regular meetings and outings with our team too. I’m extremely proud of all of our staff, they have a high standard to maintain and we make sure they are all happy in their work. After all, this is vital to our customers because you can never get a second chance at a first impression.
I would like to share one simple sentence I heard many years ago. It’s one that I will always remember: “Take good care of your staff and they will take care of your customers”. At the end of the day, it’s the returning customers who keep us in our jobs.