Having secured our Quality Award last year we realised the benefit of having targets – it keeps us focused on getting things right and on making improvements!
Today we have been shortlisted – one of only three – in the “Best Newcomer” category of the UK annual Fish and Chip awards. Apparently the calibre of applicants was outstanding! I am SO proud of our whole team. As well as a very detailed application form the judging is based on a “mystery shop” and unannounced visit (which coincided with the unannounced Environmental Health Officer’s inspection!) which must have gone better than it felt!
The judging of the final three (the others are in Keighley and Cleveland) takes place over the next month or so, with more mystery visits… The National Fish and Chip Awards Press Release is here.
On the screen at the awards ceremony
Last month we were at the Cumberland News Business Awards gala dinner – a grand night out where Shap Chippy was a finalist in the Best New Business category. We had to settle for being a runner up on what was a great occasion!
Lights but no Chippy sign!
It was such a proud moment last year when we got our new sign up, but the outrageous weather over Christmas has not only seen rain coming in but has reduced us to uncertain identity!
As we checked our premises each day over the Christmas break I was delighted to see our festive lights bravely hanging on – it took a few days to realise that our sign was missing! Fortunately it was rescued as it hurtled up the street – but it has been retired hurt.
Our new sign will be up next week – free chips to the first person to notice the slight difference!
Important things first… we now offer baked beans as an alternative (or in addition) to mushy peas!
We did it! Just after we heard we had ticked all 300 boxes…
Dan Harding presenting the NFFF Quality Award to us
Last week we finally received the news that we had reached the required standard for the National Federation of Fish Friers Quality Award – only four fish and chip shops in Cumbria currently hold it. It was hard work – not only do we have to ensure we are buying frying and serving top quality food but we have to prove that we have recording systems in place for cleaning and hygiene, staff training and so on… aiming for this award has helped us start as we mean to go on – and we are carrying on learning all the time! It’s been reported on the Westmorland Gazette site so far.
Who runs the Chippy?
Gwyn with her Great North Run 2013 finisher’s medal
Well Gwyn, sometimes, but on Sunday she was running the Great North Run and completed it in a commendable 2 hrs 30 minutes… at that speed you’d think she could have got back and put a shift in at the Chippy!
Thank you to all those who sponsored her – all funds go to The Great North Air Ambulance. The Management said they would match up to £100 of sponsorship and our customers – both regulars and those just passing through – have ensured we have to stump up the full amount – and we’re delighted so to do!
Well done Gwyn!
Crosby Ravensworth Show and Vintage Rally has been going for over 150 years and this year Shap Chippy was invited to sponsor a class or two… I asked if there was a fish class in the livestock section, but no, there wasn’t. Nor was there batter in the baking section or pickled eggs or pickled onions… However with a little persuading we sponsored a couple of potato classes and a pea class – though not the marrowfat peas from which our rather splendid mushy peas are made every day!
The show was great fun as ever, although not many people seemed to enter the horticultural section and Mr Newby seemed to win first, second and third in nearly all the classes! Congratulations to him and all the other gardeners. More next year, please!
Shap Chippy Signposted from J39 M6
Total Warrior was a challenge – especially when the electricity went off at 7.15 pm with a huge queue of hungry warriors at the door! Our team came up trumps, Gwyn explaining to the National Grid that we were a village of 1,000, with 10,000 visitors and 5 businesses trying to feed them…. the changed there estimate for the power outage from 3 hours to 30 minutes… phew! In the meantime Petra made pickled egg mayonnaise sandwiches for those who were really hungry. Hmmm….! With the power back on we enjoyed feeding more people than we usually do over a whole weekend… great fun – no pictures, I’m afraid, we were too busy!
Pictures of our new sign, though!
We now have a sign pointing the way to Shap Chippy for people coming off the M6 at junction 39 (J39). I had to sign a lease for it with Lonsdale Settled Estates. Some curious clauses in the lease – not to have riotous parties or some such… It’s a nice spot, but probably not my first choice for a bit of a do.
We also have a pavement sign and some professional window signs – opening hours, open/closed sign etc. Apart from looking much better we no longer have to rely on blu tac that a) leaves a horrible mess and b) has been melting and leaving our signs dragging sadly towards the floor.
Roadside furniture – mine’s legal and paid for!
Proof that we make chips from English potatoes… and evidence suggesting that Jo has been working too hard over the past week. Team members off on hols and on sick… and extra visitors from Kendal Calling, the Penrith Show and Total Warrior!
It was a long day!
She’ll be wide awake for Lowther weekend!
Last week we were visited by some enthusiastic youngsters who have been studying fish at the nearby Primary School. (Text from the report in the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald is below, or click on the picture to see it full size.)
Shap school visit the chippy
… and they created the most wonderful art when they were back at school – a plate of fish and chips. Some included peas, some ketchup, some cutlery; some used wool balls, some newspaper some pasta (I think!) but all used amazing imagination and in some cases a great deal of glitter!
The art of plating up! Amazing stuff from Shap schoolchildren at key stage 1.
Tasty way to learn about fish
Shap Chippy welcomed children from the village school this week. Children in years one and two at Shap Endowed Church of England Primary School have been learning all about fish this term and so they walked the few hundred yards up Main Street to learn a bit more from Jo Hampson and Gwyn Taylor at their local fish and chip restaurant.
The children came in two groups and all were able to see at first hand how the fish is prepared and how the potatoes are peeled and chipped. They were then shown the frying range which contains the fat in separate pans to fry the fish and chips. Before they left all the visitors including staff were treated to a small portion of fish and chips.
Jo and duty manager Gwyn have both been teachers previously and they enjoyed the opportunity to show the village youngsters how a fish and chips supper is prepared. Jo said “the chldren were really interested, they loved seeing a potato go in one end of a machine and chips pop out the other end! They told me all about puffer fish and tuna that they had been studying, but I think they were pleased it was haddock that we gave them!” Gwyn added “they were impressed that we know what fishing boat the fish we serve are caught by and where the potatoes we use come from. We have asked them to draw us a picture of fish and chips on a plate, so we are looking forward to seeing their art!”
Shap Chippy closed down last September but was re-opened in April by Jo Hampson and Georgina Perkins.