Although fish and chips wasn’t Lauren Kellaway’s first choice of career path, her journey to become the 2019 Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year has opened her eyes to the exciting and rewarding career that now lies ahead
My family bought Golden Fry Fish Bar in Truro, now Kellaways, in 1997. I was three years old and it is fair to say that even as I got older I didn't want to enter the fish and chip industry. I wanted to get into sports and be a swimming teacher. When I was 16, I started working in the fish and chip shop part-time just to help out when it was needed. However, my mind was entirely on my other potential career so I enrolled in a sports fitness and development course at college.
After college, I needed a full-time job, so I went to work at Specsavers. It was a good job and I learned how to handle customers in a different way to what I was used too, something that unbeknown to me would actually help me later when I went back to working at my parent’s shop. My goal now was really to travel whilst I still could, so when a great opportunity came up to go work in Morzine, France, I didn't need to be asked twice! I snowboarded lots and I worked lots. I am generally a shy person and the jobs I had before were with family or family friends, so this was probably the first time I had to fend for myself. It was a great experience and I think it was a pivotal moment for me.
Although I knew working in a family business would be pretty hard, it’s harder than working for someone else in my view, I wanted to give it a try. So, after France, I came back to the family business. I enjoyed the new challenge, however, I wanted to push myself.
"Although I knew working in a family business would be pretty hard, it’s harder than working for someone else in my view, I wanted to give it a try."
In 2018, I was entered, without my knowledge, into the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year competition. I was unprepared in my opinion and didn't progress past the paperwork stage. I didn't let it get me down though, I started to do some research and I began to talk to people in the industry and that’s when I realised how much there was to take in. It wasn’t actually my ambition to win in 2019, I purely wanted to progress. It’s all about learning in my opinion, and I had to learn how to be a better person at my job, so I threw myself at any event or opportunity where I could take something new away.
I don't want to bore you anymore with my journey, I have a few more articles to write in which I can do that! I don't want to force you into entering awards and competitions either. They aren’t for everyone, I know that. But, for me, it has been such a worthy experience. I have learnt so much, yet I know I still have so much more to learn and I do think that this is the beginning of the future for me in this industry.
I am hoping to be at as many trade events as I can get to this year, starting with Henry Colbeck’s What’s Cooking? in Edinburgh on Sunday 3rd March. I hope as many of you will come and say hello, either at the NFFF or Drywite stands.
Just quickly, I want to say a big thank you to Nicky Lewis and the rest of the team at Drywite for this fantastic opportunity. Not forgetting all the judges that gave up their own time and have given me feedback on each section of the competition.