Three Decades of Excellence
By Austen Dack
One of my favourite fish and chip shop visits in 2021 was in the south, was a long awaited visit to see Fred Capel (along with my mother- in law aka Chippy Pat).
It isn’t everyday you get to meet a gentleman who is rated consistently as one of the best fish and chip shop operators in the UK. I had the chance recently as I visited Bournemouth and took in the award winning Chez Fred. Fred Capel and team were on hand to greet us (I was with family including our very own Chippy Pat).
After a tour of the place and some pictures with Fred, we chatted about his shop, a little history some of his famous visitors and how they had all coped through the pandemic.
Run by three generations of the Capel family since opening in 1989, Fred’s has always offered a warm welcome and the simple pleasures of great fish and chips. Cooked with care and served with a smile, fish and chips at Fred’s is the ultimate comfort food. With responsibly sourced fish, potatoes fresh from the farm and Fred’s homemade mushy peas, everything is prepared on site with the pride and care that befits our national dish.
It was 32 years ago, they set out to offer great food and friendly service in a relaxed and informal setting – whilst always promising honest value for money. Much has changed in the world since then, but that simple notion remains at the heart of everything they do.
Today their aims remain much the same as they were back in ’89 simply to keep serving great fish and chips, the way they should be, served with a smile, in comfortable surroundings.
Chippy Pat was accompanied by her husband ‘Fry Bri’. Fry Bri has lived in the area for 60 years and can remember the early days of Chez Fred. In those days big stars used to stay in the resort and eat with Fred & Co, including Danny La Rue and Max Bygraves. Other stars included the 80’s matchroom snooker stars including Steve Davis. Fred’s biggest star fan these days are locals Harry Rednapp and his wife Sandra.
Pat had her trademark fish chips & mushy peas with a large white wine. She said “Chez Fred’s was incredible, perfect fish & chips, and the restaurant experience as good as anywhere I have been.”
Speaking to Fred he says they have adapted since the pandemic struck. “We have fewer tables in the restaurant (which remained shut until totally safe to re-open), & deliveries play a bigger part than they did.” He also told me that customers are still keen to come to CF, but some plan to come at less busy times giving a steady flow to the restaurant across the week. His attitude remained the same throughout the pandemic though, with the safety of his staff and customers being the main priority above profit.
It was quite simply a pleasure to meet Fred inside his restaurant, the whole experience was a credit to his father, wife Carolyn and son Tom & the whole team. I had the meaty line caught Nordic haddock, Agria potato chips & their own homemade mushy peas. I’m pleased to inform you that even after 32 years Chez Fred are still exceeding their targets.
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