National Fish & Chip Day on the 1st June is a busy day for any good fish and chip shop, and The Real Food Café in Tyndrum is no different.
To start the day café owner Sarah Heward and General Manager (and the café’s Chipologist) Colin McGeogh spent the day visiting 3rd year students at Oban High School to discuss career opportunities within hospitality and the fish and chips industry in particular. The trip took Sarah back to her own time at school as she reflected:
“It’s been almost 40 years since I was in a school, and things have definitely changed since then, but Colin and I both had a great time and I hope we inspired a few kids. It can be a tough time deciding what direction to go in at that age, but one of our main messages was to grasp life and every opportunity you can in addition to working for qualifications. National Fish & Chip Day is such a good opportunity to promote and talk about the industry, so it was great to be invited to Oban High, and we’re thankful to the pupils and teachers for listening and joining in constructively. We would happily do it again if asked!”
Colin then hotfooted it from the school to a waiting interview with BBC Radio Scotland’s Newsdrive in his newly minted position of Chipologist. Colin gave the reporter his tips on making the perfect chip, from choosing the potatoes, to storing and frying, to that all important crisp to fluffiness ratio!
Back in the café, and in the tradition of beer battered fish and chips, they had teamed up with one of Scotland’s best craft breweries, Innis & Gunn to give away an entire case of Innis & Gunn Original as well as a meal for two at The Real Food Café for one lucky winner on social media. The café also ran meal offers on the day, including homemade limited edition Spiced beer cupcakes, decorated especially to celebrate National Fish & Chip Day.
Some of the team from one of Scotland’s favourite fish and chips shops and road-side diners, The Real Food Café in Tyndrum, enjoyed a visit to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh this week. Alex Dima and Cat Dima travelled to the capital on 10th May with café owner Sarah Heward to receive their SVQ Level 3 Modern Apprenticeships in Hospitality, Supervision and Leadership from their local MSP Bruce Crawford. Mr Crawford, MSP for Stirling, also took the time to congratulate Magda Ganea who earlier this year was recognised as the best fish fryer in Scotland at the Drywite Young Fish Fryer of the Year as part of the National Fish & Chip Awards 2018. The group was given a personal tour of the parliament building from Mr Crawford before meeting with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who took the opportunity to introduce herself to, unofficial team member baby Sophie Ganea!
An atypical roadside diner situated on the popular tourist trail, the West Highland Way, The Real Food Café has been serving high quality fast food since 2005 where the team welcomes nearly a quarter of a million customers every year.
The last weekend in April means only one thing in Tyndrum, the Highland Fling Race! We’ve been proud supporters of the Ultra Trail Marathon since its inaugural race in 2005, when only 11 racers took on the 53 mile course.
Now in its 14th year, we saw over 650 racers cross the finish line of the Highland Fling 2018. We were there with our pop up café keeping the spectators warm and fed during the race, and at the finish line to greet the runners with Baked Potatoes and Ice Cream with a little help from our friends at Innis & Gunn, Albert Bartlett, Mackie’s of Scotland, MacSween Haggis and Mrs Tilly’s.
Our fruit and veg supplier JM Breckenridge of Oban also kindly donated two fruit and veg baskets to raffle off for Breast Way Round with the money going to Cancer Research and Target Ovarian Cancer.
Highland Fling Race Director John Duncan was on hand to pick the winners; Ian Harrison and Iona Underwood. Well done to both of them, and of course to everyone who participated in this year’s Highland Fling.
We’ll see you again in 2019!
Look who popped in to the cafe today to dry off + fuel up on #fishnchips. #Gregathlon #pedaltothepeaks #3peaks #Sportrelief
We were blown away by Greg James and his colleagues, huge respect for them all.
Appalling weather didn’t stop them or dint their enthusiasm and determination to raise funds and reach their goal.
Good luck tomorrow, we will be following you and willing you onwards and upwards as you climb the Big Ben.
You can read more HERE.
What a fun day!
The Real Food Café has continued to reel in the accolades, with Magda Ganea being recognised as the top fish frier in Scotland at the annual Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Awards.
Whilst the 23 year old came second place overall she was the only contestant from Scotland to be named a finalist and the only female to reach that stage. The Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year was part of the 30th National Fish & Chip Awards which culminated in a prestigious ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London at the end of January.
With close to 382 million portions of fish & chips served across the UK every year, the Young Fish Frier of the Year Awards recognises the brill-iance of fish friers under the age of 25.
The awards began in 1995 to encourage young people to consider a career in fish frying, and every year hundreds of entrants are tested in four rounds to reach the final. Magda was one of five, and the only finalist to travel from Scotland to attend the awards ceremony in London.
To reach that stage, Magda first had to complete a comprehensive questionnaire about the fish frying industry, before being interviewed by the judges. Next the judges, made up of a panel of industry experts, visited The Real Food Café in Tyndrum to observe Magda at work, before they conducted a mystery shop visit in the final round. At just 23, Magda plans to enter again next year, with hopes of battering the competition to take first plaice.
Over the course of the year Magda will be using her success at this year’s competition to raise the profile of a career in fish frying and increase knowledge of the industry; teaching other young people about fish and the issues that surround it, including free from awareness and sustainability.
Magda began working at The Real Food Café in 2016, the day after moving to Scotland from Romania and has turbot’d her way to success under the tutelage of café Manager and previous competition finalist, Colin McGeoch. The café prides itself in serving some of the very best fish and chips in Scotland and has enjoyed a string of recent awards, being named as one of five winners of Best Gluten Free Fish & Chips at the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards at the end of last year.
The chips are truly down for the Scotland Rugby Team in this year’s Six Nations Championship with a free poke on the line!
With the Six Nations Championship kicking off this weekend, award-winning fish and chip shop, The Real Food Café, in Perthshire is getting in on the action pledging to give away free chips to “Everyone” if Scotland wins the tournament. In this event, Café owners and rugby enthusiasts Alan McColm and Sarah Heward have promised one free portion of chips (per person) to hungry visitors to the popular roadside diner, on Sunday 18 March between 11am and 8pm. They must simply say “#AsOne Team Scotland” at the till!
Scotland last won the tournament in 1999 when there were only Five Nations in the tournament and rugby fan Alan hopes that this incentive will help supporters get behind the team #AsOne and spur them on to an historic victory.
“Sarah and I are very community-focused and also big rugby fans. We enjoy supporting many local events and organisations, including Oban Lorne Mini-Rugby team whose shirts carry our logo and who are fuelled on our nutritional fish and chips! After playing or watching a game of rugby there’s nothing quite like warming up with some great fish and chips, so we thought what better way to celebrate Scotland winning than to share our chips with the nation!”
Following a championship-winning performance from Scotland this year, you can claim your free portion of chips at The Real Food Café in Tyndrum, between 11am and 8pm on Sunday 18th March. Make sure you say “#AsOne Team Scotland” at the till (one portion per person).