Drywite Young Fish Frier Pete Calvert has had some amazing opportunities over the past few months to travel to different places and experience more of the wider industry
Over the summer I was invited by Seafish to attend a study trip to Billingsgate Fish Market in London. I was very excited to attend as it also involved discussing the proposals for Seafood Week and the role of being an ambassador for Seafish.
We started with a meeting to discuss how we can improve the amount of seafood the public consumes as well as different ways it can be promoted to help meet the target of eating two portions per week. At the meeting were a host of different people including Adrian Delaney, chef nutrition; George McIvor, chairman of the Master Chefs of Great Britain; Emma Keating, Master Fishmonger for Tesco’s; Harry Niazi, owner of Olley’s Fish Experience; as well as Lee Cocker, Emma Brown and Nikki Hawkins of Seafish. It was fascinating meeting and listening to the amazing knowledge from across the different areas of the seafood industry. I had some ideas myself, which I shared too!
The next morning was an early start as we went across to the market where I met CJ Jackson, the CEO and principle of the Billingsgate Seafood School, who told us about the background history of Billingsgate before taking us on our tour. The place was abuzz with different traders preparing the stock as well as people beginning to look round and buy.
In August, I was given another fantastic opportunity when Nikki Hawkins asked if I would like to travel to the Faroe Islands for the Seamen’s Day, hosted by fishing company JFK. It owns the factory trawler Gadus, which some of you might source your frozen at sea cod from.
The event was originally designed to thank the people in the Faroe Islands for supporting the fishing industry. I was massively excited to attend as it was an opportunity for me to experience the rich culture and heritage of the fishing industry of the islands as well as show my skills and experience of the UK fish and chip industry. Jogvan Hansen, son of Hanus Hansen CEO of JFK and sales and operations director, was my guide and we travelled to Klaksvik, where JFK operates the largest fish factory in the Faroe Islands, as well as to the village where he grew up. The islands are a truly beautiful place with some breathtaking views. Seeing the land-based factory where it process frozen and fresh fish was amazing, it’s actually going undergoing a huge refit to increase productivity.
When it came to celebrating Seamen’s Day, it was an early 7am start and we had around 30 people come to a local shop to help in all the areas, from fish cutting, potato prep and serving. I showed the helpers how to rumble, use Drywite and cut the chips, so by 10am we were cooking. Orders had being placed by local care homes as well as businesses and we even sent some fish and chips to the hotel staff who were unable to attend the festival. As soon as we had finished the orders, we opened the shop for the main event and it was remarkable. People had come from all over the islands, despite the rain, and waited three to four hours to come and get their fish and chips. Everyone was peering over to see how we were cooking and taking pictures of us, it was like being a celebrity.
It was another great experience and one that I’m truly grateful for as without winning the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year it’s something I may never have got to take part in.