Located in a parade of shops in Ashford, Kent, Catch Fish & Chips serves both local residents and office workers with something for everyone. From light lunches, senior specials and gluten free, customers can walk-in, click and collect or order delivery.
It’s a popular shop, too, you just have to look on Just Eat and Uber to see a raft of five-star reviews. This is partly due to its focus on sourcing only quality ingredients. For example, all its cod and haddock are caught, filleted and supplied direct from the Norwegian vessel Granit while two local merchants are used for potatoes to ensure the takeaway can always buy the best available.
Quality is certainly reflected in the prices, with fish and chips a healthy £7.55 for a regular portion and £9.05 for a large.
But it’s not just sourcing ingredients that’s important here, Kevin Hill has managed the shop for 10 years and insists that just as much effort goes into the preparation. So when it comes to potatoes, Kevin uses the same tried and tested process he’s used for the past 10 years; chipping and peeling first thing in the morning, before treating and draining the chips.
“We use Agria for as much of the year as possible and we just drain the chips down, which means they’re out of water all day so you get a much drier potato – important when you want a good quality chip. Also, because you haven’t got a wet product going into the pan, the oil lasts longer and it’s just quicker and easier in terms of having everything ready to go, there are no drips on the floor to mop up, for example.”
When Ceres launched its Potato Preparation last year, Kevin had no hesitation in switching, commenting: “I use Ceres’ other products – its Curry Sauce, the Gluten Free Batter Mix, the Natural Batter Mix and the Fishcake Mix – which are all really good products so I just knew there would be that guarantee that this would be of the same standard.
“With the Ceres Potato Preparation we get a really nice dry, white chip – well yellow in my case because I use Agria – that when cooked is fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside.”
Although office staff are slowly beginning to return to their workplaces and trade is picking up again following Covid, a regular pattern is still yet to establish itself. Kevin explains: “Sometimes we’ll have a really busy lunchtime trade and a quiet evening and then the next day it will be round the other way. It can be so random. But the great thing with the Ceres Potato Preparation is I know when that last portion of chips goes into the fryer at 7.45pm, it will be exactly the same as the portion that went in at 12 o’clock.
“In fact, I’ve got complete faith that the chips would last to the following morning if we had slightly over-peeled a bag too many.”
“I’ve even started blanching at lunchtimes if it’s quiet, but at night I do cook straight through. And every time, no matter what I do, I get a consistent chip. It’s always the same and that’s important.”
An added bonus of using Ceres Potato Preparation is that it’s cheaper than the product Kevin was using previously, at just 10p per treatment. “I said I’ll try it but if it’s not as good it won’t matter how much cheaper it is, I won’t be using it. If anything I reckon it’s got a little bit up on what I was using before because it does the job exactly the same and it seems to last longer.”
The flexibility of being able to buy directly from the Ceres website at a time that suits also appeals to Kevin, who adds: “It’s just so quick and easy. If you suddenly think you’re going to run out tomorrow, you order what you need and usually it’s here the next day. On the whole, it’s a very fast service.”
As well as buying key ingredients from Ceres, Catch also uses the company’s labelling service to create bespoke labels for pots of homemade tartare sauce to comply with Natasha’s Law, as well as stickers to reduce a common problem of missed items.
Kevin adds: “When we first started doing click and collect, every now and then we would forget things like tomato sauce as you can’t put that in the hot cupboard. So we had Ceres make up some stickers to seal the bags. Now, if the bag is sealed, staff know the order is complete and ready to go but if it’s not sealed, then it’s not complete and it’s missing an item. They have our Catch logo and our e-mail address on so customers know how to contact us if they have any questions.”