Lauren Kellaway of Kellaway’s Fish & Chips in Truro, Cornwall, has been named the best young fish frier in the UK.
The 24-year-old was presented with the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Award at The National Fish & Chip Awards in London yesterday by host and celebrity chef Phil Vickery.
Lauren underwent numerous rounds of judging alongside her five fellow finalists, including a presentation, a mystery dine and a skills day where all aspects of her job were assessed from her ingredients knowledge through to her frying and customer service skills.
On winning, Lauren comments: “It’s incredible, I really didn’t expect to win as I was up against brilliant youngsters.”
In the eight months leading up to the final, Lauren visited trade shows, attended open days and toured around other shops, absorbing as much information and experience as possible. She comments: “I set a plan at the beginning and said I want to go to this and that. Initially my parents said “but you’re meant to be in the shop!” I said "yes, but I need to learn and I need to progress"."
She adds: “I’ve met so many influential people that have helped me with my progression over this last six to eight months in the competition. There’s always something to learn and I know I’ll learn so much more this year and throughout my career.”
Although Lauren initially started working at her parent’s takeaway as an extra pair of hands eight years ago, she quickly grew to like the job and for the past four years has been full-time. She comments: “Mum and dad have had the shop since I was three so I’ve grown up with it, but I never really thought I would follow in their footsteps. I knew it was always an opportunity but I thought I would just help out for a couple of months and then I started to love it.
“I got involved in all aspects of the job and now I do everything from the frying to the day-to-day running. I’ve become really passionate about my job and I really do love what I do. But it’s a team effort and I wouldn’t be here without them. They’ve been the ones running the shop while I’ve been out in the industry, they’ve just been an incredible support.”
Looking forward to her year ahead, Lauren is keen to enthuse other youngsters, saying: “If I can encourage other young people into the industry in the same way that people like Nick Miller and Craig Buckley have encouraged and helped me, then I'm winning. I also want to try and send out a positive message about working in a fish and chip shop and highlight the skills that go into it as people aren’t always aware of how much goes into serving a portion of fish and chips.”
Second place was awarded to Alex Walker of Low's Traditional Fish & Chips in Westhill, Aberdeenshire, while third place went to James Workman of Millers Fish & Chips in Haxby, North Yorkshire.