Changing jobs can be daunting, but it can also be very rewarding as 24-year-old Magda Ganea has found after taking the position of frier at Papa’s Fish & Chips in Scarborough, North Yorkshire
My journey in fish and chips started in 2016 when my husband and I decided to start a new life far away from our home in Romania. I never expected when we left that we would be working in the fish and chip industry in Scotland!
It all started when I applied for a waitress job with an employment agency. During my interview I was asked how I felt about working in a kitchen. I had never worked in a kitchen before but was excited about the idea and keen to learn more.
The position was at The Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum, Perthshire. Their high standards in cooking fish and chips and the training they invested in my personal development helped me achieve second place in the 2018 Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Award. It was a fantastic achievement for me as it showed how, in less than two years, I had already made progress and learned so much.
A few months later, I took a job at Papa’s Fish and Chips as frier at its Scarborough site. This was a big step for me to move away from Scotland as it involved uprooting my whole family, including my young daughter. But the motivating factor was to learn more about the fish and chip industry from another perspective.
When I arrived in Yorkshire, I realised everything was done completely differently. It was like starting from scratch as I had to learn a new way to fry and prepare fish and chips. For one, the frying medium is different. I was used to working with vegetable oil whereas here we are using beef dripping, which has a longer life span. At The Real Food Cafe, we would throw the oil after six days. At Papa’s, we rotate the oil so we never waste or bin any at all. Oil management was one of the first things I was trained in.
Because of this, my knowledge and frying ability have both improved vastly. I can honestly say to any young person considering a career in fish and chips to just go for it. It is a long journey but a very pleasant one. You will never get bored in our industry because there is always something new you can learn. Even though I’ve only worked in two places so far, what I have discovered is that you will never find two fish and chip shops that operate exactly the same. Even if the final product is found under the same name “fish and chips”, everything that goes into it can be totally different.
Coming to Papa’s has definitely changed me for the better and I don’t regret my decision, even if I do miss Scotland.
I know that out there are lots of young people that might be afraid of making such a big decision and leaving everything that they know behind them to start again, but it can be worthwhile. And, as I’ve found, the industry is full of people willing to support each other so you’ll always find someone to give you advice when you need it.
My biggest dream is to have my own fish and chip shop one day and, although I still have a lot more to learn, I truly believe I am on the right path.