Many people dream about opening up their own business, others dream of moving abroad and having a life in the sun, some are lucky enough to do both!
On this Travel Tuesday we look at one man, Colin Clark,who has proved that it is possible and also proves that Fish and Chips are just as popular overseas! Starting off in 1990 as a humble spud boy at Moby Dicks Fish and Chip Shop in Brighton, a 14 year old Colin learnt of his passion for Fish and Chips, working at the shop off and on until leaving Brighton in 2003.
Fast forward 2 years to 2005 and Colin and his family touched down in Gozo to start their life in sunny Malta. As the Clark family settled into Maltese life there was just one thing that wasn’t right, the lack of fresh battered Fish and Chips! Clearly it wasn’t only Colin who missed Britain’s favourite dish, as fellow ex-pats would ask Colin where they could find them on the Island after finding out that he would cook them at home.
The demand soon became so great that Colin began cooking Fish & Chips at a local bar once a week. As the bar closed and Colin looked for other avenues to serve the locals the much adored dish, he took a leap of faith and The Chippy was born! The aim behind opening The Chippy wasn’t just to bring Fish and Chips to Malta, it was also to bring the taste, feel and experience of a good old local chippy to the Island. Colin first bought his mobile unit, an old English ambulance, which was then creatively converted.
Following the conversion of the van, an invaluable research trip then took Colin and his business partner back to England. This involved trying to find a reliable supplier of a high standard.
After recommendations from various areas of the Fish and Chip world Colin decided to contact Friars Pride, and in his own words “the rest is history!”.
Products that have gone down particularly well have been the curry sauce, gravy and Sarsons vinegar, although the pickled eggs, onions and gherkins have all been fan favourites as well. Many ex-pats have commented on how visiting Doris, the chip van, has given them the ‘take me back’ feeling as if they were at their local chippy back home in England, with Maltese locals also left craving more even though many had never previously tasted British Fish and Chips or even visited Britain. In keeping with the authentic Fish and Chip shop feel, Colin decided that it was an absolute must to use block oil, specifically FriWite palm oil from Friars Pride.
Colin even went to the length of buying and shipping a frying range from England to ensure that everything is cooked in the same traditional way as an English Fish & Chip shop. This includes peeling and chipping his own potatoes and using Drywite potato prep, which he describes as a ‘god send’.
The Chippy also aims to be as environmentally friendly as possible, using sustainable fish, local potatoes and recyclable packaging. When asked about how successful Colin thought the overall journey has been he answered,
“It took a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but despite the ups and downs it is worth it all when people say it’s the best Fish and Chips they’ve had in years or the best they’ve had since they were in England.” Colin went on to say “All of the compliments and smiles we get from people make it worthwhile!”.
The key component of The Chippy’s success has been the tireless amounts of effort put in before starting up the business. Colin’s advice to anyone looking to set up overseas is…
“Research, research, research! Look into your market, the most important thing is to have an image and a good supplier”.
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For more information about The Chippy in Gozo, Malta, head over to their Facebook page at facebook.com/TheChippyGozo