Food Wine Produce
20/12/2020
FORK TALK —– A CHAT WITH OUR FOOD, WINE & DINING EXPERTS Head chef Dale — The Cripps Family Fish & Chip Van, Frankston

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Your Cripps Family Fish & Chip Van is located on the stunning Olivers Hill shoreline next to the Frankston boat ramp – the ideal location. Could you tell us a little about how this venture began?

There was a gap in the market for fresh fish and chips on the Mornington Peninsula, and of course it ties in with what we offer: high-quality fresh seafood. Owner Hanna Hamod negotiated with the local council for a permanent spot on the shoreline. 

Your fish and chips look divine. What’s the secret?

The secret is that everything is fresh. And our batter is so crispy. The calamari is restaurant-quality so it just melts in your mouth. My batter recipe is a secret – and it will remain a secret! 

With fresh fish from Cripps Family Seafood, the customer is spoilt for choice. What can customers expect from your menu?

Anything. Order a Fisherman’s Basket, Seafood Basket, or the Feed the Crew basket. We can make anything you want. If we have it here, we can do it. Customers can also expect top quality and great customer service. 

If a customer asked you to suggest your favourite fish, what would it be?

Flathead. But I am partial to flake. It just melts in your mouth.

Could you tell us a little about your industry experience?

I’ve been cooking fish and chips for over 26 years. I’ve got a lot of experience. I worked at Rex Hunt’s fish and chip shop. I was training the staff and helping them get organised when they first opened. It was a great experience, and I met a lot of people. People would come for miles to try our fish and chips when it first launched. Then I was at Delish Fish in Sorrento for eight years before it closed. I’m a very good short-order cook because I’m very quick. Throughout all my years of experience, Cripps’ fresh fish and quality of their product is brilliant; it’s the best I’ve ever come across. That says a lot. I only came to help out after they’d been open two months, but Hanna begged me to stay. 

What’s your style in the kitchen and what do you love most about what you do?

I just love working with people. Our customers and our staff are excellent. We have a really good team. We’re all happy. I delegate and I put everyone where they work the best – that’s the way it works. We cooked out of a small van and considering what we created in such a small area, well, it’s amazing.  A bigger van launched at the end of December, which is very exciting. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring chefs? 

Be consistent and keep your product true to your values. Don’t have a large menu just for show. Instead, concentrate on you what you cook well. Keep it simple and stick to what you do best.

KATE SEARS

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