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If you thought fish and chips for a penny was a crazy idea, that’s nothing! George Papadamou talks about Papa's latest stunt - sending a portion of fish and chips into space
I know it sounds crazy, sending fish and chips into space, but that’s pretty much what life has been like for us at Papa’s lately!
The idea originated a few years ago and it was something we really wanted to do as nobody has ever done it before and we could prove once and for all that Papa’s fish and chips really are out of this world!
What with winning the BBC’s Best of British Takeaways recently and me being this year’s Drywite Young Fish Frier, we thought the timing was right and if we did it now we could really make the most of it.
Obviously it’s not as easy as catapulting a portion of fish and chips into the sky. There’s a lot of science behind it so we thought, you know what, we’ll cook the fish and chips as that’s what we’re good at, and we’ll leave this down to the experts.
NASA, naturally, wasn’t willing to join in, so we did our own research, literally starting with a Google search, and found a company that could do it for us by strapping a box to a weather balloon. These guys really are experts and organised everything. They calculated how much gas the balloon needed to get into space, detailed all the equipment we would need, told us the best way to track our fish and chips and, vitally, got the clearance from the aviation authorities to carry out the launch. Once everything was in place and the haddock and chips were cooked, we headed off to a launch pad in Sheffield for it all to finally happen.
At just after 12 noon yesterday, the weather balloon was launched and it was just an amazing experience to see a box of Papa’s award winning fish and chips leave the ground, heading up into the stratosphere. Within just one or two minutes, the balloon carrying our fish and chips was out of sight. We were told they reached four times higher than any commercial aeroplane has ever reached, which is incredible. They were in space for about three and a half to four hours before the balloon burst, sending our fish and chips back down to earth where they landed in the Lincolnshire Wolds. A few more miles and a little bit more wind and they may have landed quite close to Cleethorpes Pier, which would have been great!
The best part was that it was GPS tracked and videoed all the way, so down on the ground we had a really clear view of everything. It was a fish and chips’ view of the world with Papa’s at the forefront. If you look at the video, you can actually see the lemon starts out as a nice juicy lemon, but then the moisture started getting sucked out the higher it got, so at -60C it was a bit shrivelled up!
The whole experience, seeing the thin blue line of the atmosphere, the blackness of space and Papa's fish and chips, was incredible and we’re really proud to be the first people to send a portion of fish and chips into space. It’s been a great way to get exposure for fish and chips, which is what we’re all about. If it made five people have a chippy tea last night then that's an amazing success, no matter where in the country they went.
At the same time, Hull is the City of Culture this year and while we’re big flag bearers for fish and chips, we’re also really keen to raise the profile of Hull and Yorkshire. It wasn’t just fish and chips up there in space, but Yorkshire fish and chips.
People are always asking us what we’ll do next and all I can say is, genuinely, I don’t know. We love coming up with new ideas that haven't been done before, being experimental and doing things that are eye-catching. You’ll just have to watch this space, although my dad has mentioned opening the first fish and chip shop on the moon…
Watch the moment Papa's fish and chips lifted off by clicking here.