fbpx

Charlie Collins – Frydales Leicester

December 4th, 2019 Reading Time: 3 minutes

For most 24-year-olds, managing one shop would be enough, but for young entrepreneur Charlie Collins he’s recently taken on a second, Frydales at Syston Services in Leicestershire. 

Charlie Collins Frydales Leicester
Frydales, Hinckley Road, Leicester.

An express-style fish and chip shop attached to a petrol station, it’s a very different proposition to Frydales on Hinckley Road, a more community-based takeaway where Charlie’s worked for eight years and managed for the past five years.

Despite the differences, at both shops, the prime focus is serving a top quality product and Charlie is always open to learning new methods and processes. So when he was picked up on his batter making skills during an assessment for Drywite’s Young Fish Frier of the Year competition last year, he took the opportunity to look at what other products were available. 

Charlie Collins Frydales Leicester
Charlie in the middle with other Drywite Young Fish Frier Finalists.

“I went through about 15-20 different batters,” comments Charlie. “I literally bought every single one and Ceres Natural Batter Mix was the most consistent. I’ve been on it for nearly a year and I use it at both shops. I think, for me, it stays slightly crispier and holds slightly better than most batters, which is really important, especially when we started doing deliveries on a bigger scale as it needs to last that bit longer.”

Serving around 1,400 portions of fish and chips a week at his Hinckley Road site alone, when Charlie took over at Syston, naturally, there was a significant increase in fish trimmings. He didn’t sell enough fish bites to utilise it all and he was reluctant to introduce anything too time-consuming like a fish pie, so he put the excess trimmings into fishcakes, replacing a bought-in product for a homemade version using Ceres Fishcake Base Mix.

Charlie Collins Frydales Leicester
Charlie outside Frydales on Hinckley Road.

Charlie comments: “We tried a couple of different fishcake recipes but we struggled with the consistency. The Ceres Fishcake Base Mix gave us the chance over the two shops to have a simple recipe that anyone could make.

“The fishcakes are quick to make. It’s literally 30 to 45 minutes to make and shape and 10 minutes to breadcrumb. And they really don’t cost a lot as, essentially, the fish is free.”

“The only issue now is not having enough fish trimmings to keep up with the number of fishcakes they are selling!”

Charlie Collins

It’s not just Ceres’ products that have benefited Charlie’s business; having Ceres founder Stelios Theocharous on hand to identify specific needs and find solutions has been a game-changer. Using its Pea Seasoning, for example, has made a significant difference to the taste of its mushy peas, doubling sales in the space of eight months. “It’s consistent and it contains just the right level of salt and sugar so the mushy peas taste fantastic,” Charlie explains.

Charlie brings home the prize & wins Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year.

“It’s Stelios’s general knowledge and the time he’s willing to put in that’s important too,” he continues. “One time, he came out because the batter was patchy in colour. Stelios looked at our processes – we use rice flour – and saw that the fish wasn’t dry enough so it was adding moisture to the rice flour, which was causing the patchiness. He looks at things you wouldn’t see yourself. We literally didn’t have any idea what we were doing wrong.”

With Charlie having doubled the turnover at Hinckley since taking over, and with Syston already noticeably busier, on Charlie’s radar now is winning Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year competition in January. “It would be nice to win it. It’s the third time I’ve been in it so third time lucky!” he comments.


Andrew Calleja, Clopton Catch

Andrew Calleja, Clopton Catch, Stratford-Upon-Avon

‘Fresh food comes to those who wait’ is the ethos at Clopton Catch in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, and owner Andrew Calleja is so proud of it that he’s had it emblazoned ...
Read More
John Molnar, Cod's Scallops

John Molnar, The Cods Scallops

In this episode, we talk to John Molnar from the Cod's Scallops Group. John is the co-owner with his wife Helen, and they have four outlets across the east midlands ...
Read More
Peter Fraser, Harbour Lights

Question Time . . . with Peter Fraser, owner, Harbour Lights in Falmouth & Frasers in Penzance

What’s your favourite food? Roast Welsh lamb. I have the fondest memories of Sunday roasts in my childhood. Apart from enjoying the delicious hot meal, I used to also get ...
Read More
Alex Papaioannou, The Bearded Sailor

Alex Papaioannou, The Bearded Sailor

Pudsey certainly doesn’t have a shortage of fish and chip shops; a quick google search throws up 14 in this small suburb of West Leeds. A recent addition to that ...
Read More
Gregg Howard, Our Plaice & The Chip Shed

Gregg Howard, Our Plaice & The Chip Shed

Gregg Howard from Our Plaice in Hagley and The Chip Shed which operate from multiple locations in Warwickshire and the Cotswolds. I have known Gregg for about 14-15 years, but ...
Read More
Mark Savage, The Wetherby Whaler

Question Time with … Mark Savage, senior manager, The Wetherby Whaler

What’s been your best food experience? For my 40th I went to the hotel Luna Baglioni in Venice. It was truly an experience never matched before or since, the ambience, ...
Read More