It’s not by chance that Sam Parry of Top Chippy in LLanrwst near Conwy and a finalist in the 2018 Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year award, is back in the Top 10 vying for the 2019 title. His success is down to investing in himself
Fish frying is tough, but being a young fish frier is even tougher. Friday morning, you wake early with excitement for the busy day ahead. You’re at ‘the office’ as quick as your feet will carry you, it’s prep time. Fish filleting, rumbling potatoes, boiling peas. It is intense!
The endless line of recipients appear as soon as noon strikes, each one of them eager for your delights. Little do they know, of the agonising early mornings that went before. They don’t see fish and chips at 8am every morning like you do. You work tirelessly throughout the day, providing your finest fish and chips to the most deserving customers. And then, at 10pm, the final deal is made and home time is calling.
As a young fish frier, you probably aren’t lucky enough yet to own your chip shop. However, you can develop your skills and career – and surely it will be easier now whilst you aren’t trying to run a successful business!
I am lucky enough this year to have progressed into a position where I do run my own business, as a partnership with my mother, although my fish and chip career started way before this year. As my shop has been family-owned for over 40 years, I have always worked here part-time but more seriously in the past four years.
I entered the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year (DYFFY) award for the first time in 2017, where I reached the semi-final stage. On my second attempt I progressed to the last five applicants as a finalist, with a trip to London on the horizon.
I received some advice early in my career, which I still firmly believe today and would like to spread to fellow young fish friers. It simply is, invest in yourself. You may think this is vague advice, and I would agree with you. It is vague because only you can invest time in you!
All through my fish and chip career I have invested time in myself, with success up to this date. I take time to self-assess, practise and learn. I read industry magazines, I learn from reading books and I make use of the internet to research my profession and fish and chips. I attend workshops and networking events where I can broaden my knowledge by engaging with other fish friers.
When I first entered DYFFY, I did not know how to fillet fish – and I failed miserably at my skills day challenge. I received my feedback from the judges and set a clear goal to improve in time for the following year’s competition. I attended the DYFFY Best Practise day in Leeds, a workshop day at the KFE Frying School and I visited various shops for their advice on fish filleting. It is important to mention here that I wouldn’t have had the confidence to visit these shops had I not attend the workshop days. It is equally important to socialise and develop relationships with your fellow fish friers. I am pleased to say that at my second skills day challenge, I scored highly for fish filleting. Without investing the time in myself to develop my fish filleting skills, I probably wouldn’t have progressed to the final five finalists.
I am very passionate about fish and chips. As young fish friers and the future generation of fish and chips shop owners, your passion will be the driving force of your self-investment. Your skills will grow and develop, earning you the deserved recognition and, hopefully, the title of Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year.