From an underperforming fish and chip shop seven years ago, Matthew Marks, with his business partner Juliano Brito, has transformed The Codfather in Aylesbury into a modern takeaway encompassing a range of growing food trends, including vegan, gluten free and grilled options. It’s been so well received that in November last year the pair duplicated it just three miles away.
Both shops have built up a loyal following and trade continues to grow, but Matthew admits rising prices are a continual challenge. His approach to tackling this is to by top quality ingredients, price his menu correctly and offer products that appeal to more customers.
Matthew comments: “Fish has been and always will be our biggest seller, but we’ve introduced other items too to help us capture a slightly wider audience – and they are selling well. The vegan nuggets and burger are great, that’s definitely an expanding market and we find not everyone that buys these are actually vegans, some people just like a vegan day. We also do grilled fish – just cod and haddock seasoned and served with a salad. That sells well in the summer. About a year we started doing sweet potato fries and they go well too. These days it’s about catering for everybody.”
A more recent change has been a switch from tinned mushy peas to homemade, using Ceres Mushy Pea Seasoning to ensure they are spot on.
“Making our own mushy peas is something I knew we should be doing but we just hadn’t done it so far. I had the basis of how to make them but I knew Stelios at Ceres would be the person to just give us a few extra pointers. We started using the Ceres Mushy Pea Seasoning and it gives us a really good, consistent product.
“Our mushy peas are far better now in taste and consistency and just knowing they are homemade makes such a difference. After all, you’ve got fresh ingredients in the fish and in the chips so to do the best possible homemade mushy peas complements them. It’s such a shame to do top class fish and chips and then serve up tinned mushy peas. It’s not right, it does the fish and chips a disservice if you’re not doing homemade.”
Following Stelios’s advice, Matthew has found making his mushy peas much more satisfying and not at all difficult, adding: “Stelios, he’s made it straight forward. He e-mailed the instructions and we just follow those, so we wash the peas three times, soak them overnight, give them another wash in the morning, cover them in just over an inch of water, boil them and that’s it!”