Fish and chips are often considered the national dish of Britain though they are perhaps better known as the Friday-night takeaway of choice.
Coined “fish and chip Friday” by many, the tradition has seen the 10,500 shops that specialise in the cuisine appear across the UK.
While it’s clear-cut exactly how the ingredients are cooked in most chippies, Express.co.uk spoke to a former employee who worked in them for five years to unveil exactly what goes on behind the fryers.
Jordan Luxford, who is now the owner of A-Star Waste Management in Sussex, worked at several fish and chip shops on the south coast and even served as a cook specialising in the British dish at Wimbledon in 2019.
He told Express.co.uk: “Most people wouldn’t know that after we cook battered products in our oil we would follow it with a batch of chips.”
Jordan continued: “The chips help to clean the oil of the smaller batter particles that do not get removed by sieving the oil.”
When it comes to exactly what’s fried in the oil, the former Wimbledon chef explained that just about anything goes – from the classics like cod, haddock, and sausages, right through to chocolate bars.
Because of this, there are some things that Jordan simply won’t order having now worked at several himself.
He told Express.co.uk: “I would never order a fried beef burger! If you want a decent burger get it from a shop with a hot plate to cook it on.
“If you want a freshly cooked item go for something that isn’t in the glass top under the lights but we would cook anything fresh if a customer asked anyway.
“Fried chocolate bars have always been popular too. We would usually cook them for free alongside an order and as we wouldn’t have the chocolate bars in stock, the customer would be asked to bring them with them and we would cook them at the same time as the rest of their order.”
It’s not just the cooking methods of British chippies that Jordan claimed to be surprising about the beloved takeaway trade.
He noted that a significant amount of effort goes into preparing the menu items that dominate fish and chip shops – especially the fries.
The business owner explained: “The amount of preparation time needed to get everything ready before opening was a huge surprise!
“It takes hours to cut a Friday night’s fish and even more hours to peel, inspect and cut 20 bags of potatoes. Prep for a Friday night, opening at 5.30pm would start at 10am.”