It was shoes off and wellies on for Friars Pride at the Field to Frier open day hosted by Chippy Chat and Isle of Ely Produce on Sunday 17th September in Ely, Cambridgeshire.
Friars Pride representative, marketing exec Nathan, took to the fields of the fens to learn all about potato production and the crucial factors that make the humble chippy chip the real cream of the crop.
Joining Nathan was South West Area Sales Manager Jason Parsonage, with both looking to increase their knowledge of the ever-changing industry by listening to presentations by industry experts and getting stuck in on the H.G. Bliss Farms tour visiting the potato fields and storage facilities.
Arriving early to set up the Friars Pride stands, the visitor numbers steadily grew until a crowd made up of over 100 friers and suppliers filled the room. Most of the visitors arrived with enough time to say hello to old friends and familiar faces as well as the other Fish & Chip Shop owners and businesses who were in attendance.
It was standing room only as the publishing editor of Chippy Chat, Austen Dack, kicked off proceedings with an introduction and overview of what was to come.
Austen was closely followed by the first guest speaker of the day, Andrew Crook from the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) who outlined their role within the industry and the benefits of both NFFF membership and training courses for Fish Friers.
Next up to the podium was Ryan Baker of Middleton Foods, with Anna and Lindsay of Pukka following closely behind.
Austen then welcomed Dino and Sid Papadamou of Papa's Fish & Chips, who talked about their family journey in the Fish & Chip industry, along with their previous failings, which they used as building blocks to reach the incredible success and growth as a business which they have experienced over the past few years.
Patrick Clabon of H.G. Bliss then took to the floor to speak about the potato production process and introduce his farms.
These H.G. Bliss farms were the next port of call for the visitors, who were whisked away on a double-decker coach for an educational tour, visiting a field in the process of producing the potato crop, and then onto the storage facility just down the road, where some of the shiny, modern harvesting machinery was on show.
On return to Oak Farm, the Isle of Ely headquarters, Oliver Boutwood took the reigns as the tour moved on to the packing line, where the potatoes are manually checked for quality and size and then separated into different areas as a result. Next, all of the prime potatoes are bagged before being packed on to pallets to be shipped out to all of the fantastic Fish & Chip shops and other businesses that use the potatoes.
After a fantastic and informative tour, the guests at Oak Farm had worked up an appetite, which of course meant that three different types of local potatoes were on offer.
These had been cooked up by mobile caterers, Flipping & Frying, who fried them in Spavin's Handy Pack Beef Dripping, supplied to them by Friars Pride, along with a selection of Promenade Sauces to dip the delectable chips into.
Now just passed the half way point of the day, Austen welcomed the guests back for an afternoon of industry talks to follow on from the morning's great presentations.
The running order for the second half of the presentations went as below:
- Smart Utility Management - John Hall-Williams
- Krispies Fish & Chips - Tim & Kelly Barnes
- Ansul fire Suppression Systems - Chris Prideaux
- Wrapped Insurance by Ryan's - Tracy Healey & Sarah Beard
- Vito Oil Filter System - Iain Addison
All of whom gave tremendous talks about their products, services and fish & Chip shops before the keynote speakers and the 2017 Fish & Chip Shop of the Year winners, Kingfisher Fish & Chips, took to the stage.
This was an education in itself, and the journey of Craig and Nikki led to a well-deserved standing ovation and the loudest round of applause of the day.
The Field to Frier Open Day was then drawn to a close by Austen Dack, who returned to the stage to talk about Chippy Chat before thanking everyone for the fantastic attendance for an equally fantastic industry event.
Before everybody left, they received a Friars Pride goody bag which included the company brochures, as well as a FRY I.T. invite and some other Fish & Chip related treats which you can still request from the form below if you missed out!
Over 50 people then went on to enjoy a delicious evening meal at a local pub in Ely, the perfect way to round off a truly brilliant day.
See you all again next year!
For information on the 2018 Field to Frier Open Day, keep a lookout at Chippy Chat for updates