FISH and chip shops across Huddersfield are hoping for bumper sales this week as National Chip Week kicks off.
But in the year that the great British tradition of fish and chips celebrates its 150th anniversary, have you ever wondered where your fish comes from?
If you buy your tea time treat from a Huddersfield chippie there’s every chance the fillet of cod or haddock came from a warehouse in Bradley Mills.
That’s because fish wholesaler Sailbrand provides the fish for about half the fish and chip shops in the region.
Salesman Shaun Dundon casts his net far and wide to find the best priced fish for his customers.
He sources about six tonnes of fillets a week from all over the UK, but mostly from Scotland and Cornwall.
And despite the well reported shortage of haddock and cod, Shaun said West Yorkshire folk just can’t be persuaded to eat other types.
He said: “They can’t move off cod and haddock in this area. We’ve tried different species, pollock, hake, we’ve tried everything but it’s got to be cod or haddock.
“At the moment the most popular fish is haddock but it will turn to cod within weeks, because with the shortage of haddock the price rises.
“It’s just West Yorkshire, if people get a bone in their fish they’re put off for life.
“It’s only the Caribbean and Jamaican community who want anything different.
“They come down for the ‘Headless Reds’ – an ocean perch. They use a lot for funerals and weddings.”
Most of Shaun’s cod and haddock comes from Norwegian and Icelandic trawlers.
It is filleted and frozen at sea and sold at auctions at ports around the country.
Shaun then rings round the wholesalers to place his orders and it’s shipped to Huddersfield in 20lb blocks, typically 60 fillets.
Fish friers then simply peel the fillets apart, batter them and fry them.
But it’s not just frozen fillets for sale at Sailbrand.
The 36-strong team now make most of their money selling fresh fish to restaurants, pubs and schools.
A team of eight drivers deliver fish across Yorkshire and Manchester including to prestigious clients such as Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.
Anything you want, they can get it from red snapper to John Dory and even shark.
But the biggest and most expensive fish coming through their doors right now is halibut which currently costs £23 per kilo – more than £100 per fish.
WHILE Huddersfield’s fisheries aim to sell thousands of portions during National Chip Week, they’ll have some work to do to beat the record by famous Leeds restaurant Harry Ramsdens.
To mark his restaurant’s 21st birthday in 1952, Harry Ramsden served fish and chips at the original prices, selling a world record 10,000 portions in a single day.
The late Mr Ramsden went on to break his one-day record three times, serving 10,182 portions in Guiseley (1988), 11,964 in Glasgow (1992) and 12,105 in Melbourne (1996).
There is still a lot of debate about whether the first fish and chip shop was Joseph Malin’s in London’s East End or Mr Lee’s chippie on Oldham market, Lancashire – both claiming to have been launched in 1860.
Chippies’ lives got easier in 1920 when the mechanical potato peeler was invented.
From 1920 onwards – fish and chips shops were called ‘Fried Fish Shops’ and in 1927 there were 35,000 across the UK.
Demand for fish and chips reached a high in 1931 when a chippie in Bradford had to hire a doorman to control the queue that formed outside his shop.
Fish and chips were one of the few foods that were not rationed during World War II.
Today’s most popular potato variety, the Maris Piper was first commercially grown in the 1960s.
The use of old newspapers to wrap fish and chips began to be phased out in the 1970s.
FISH and chips are in Hazel Lockwood’s blood.
Hazel, spent many years working with her family when they ran Compo’s fish and chip shop and cafe in Holmfirth. And for the past 11 years, she and her husband Peter have run the New Road Fisheries in Kirkheaton.
Peter said: "It’s still a very popular meal, although not quite as it was a few years ago.
"People here still want the traditional cod or haddock and we don’t do other things such as kebabs or pizza."