To the Editor October 2013

For the Love of Country (and Fish & Chips)

A BCCJ member’s thoughts on the GREAT campaign to improve the image of UK cuisine

One approach to improving our national cuisine’s reputation would be to completely change the perception in Japan of our national dish. Fish and chips is an aberration in Tokyo. I have not once seen a great example of it.

The overwhelming image this represents of British food is the single most important factor in the overall perception of our national cuisine.

Some of the “fish and chips” I have been served here makes me want to cry. We need to set up a campaign for real fish and chips in Japan.

We have an abundance of great fresh fish, and we have a plentiful supply of potatoes, yet we are subjected to possibly the worst fish and chip products in the developed world.

I think we should get an expert operator from the UK to open a small shop selling amazing fish and chips, cooked in proper lard and wrapped in newspaper.

Preferably this should be a firm from the coast, not London—from Cromer, Grimsby, Scarborough or Cornwall, for example. We can get plenty of press coverage from this kind of operation. As long as the product is consistently fantastic, we can make an immediate impact.

I was born in Grimsby, so I am passionate about this dish.

If we can support a small UK shop with marketing, translation, equipment and products, we can ultimately improve the image of our food in the eyes of potential tourists. This would, therefore, improve tourism from Japan into the UK.

In Singapore, Smith’s Fish and Chips consistently deliver a product that is the closest to the dishes back home I have ever seen outside of the UK. They could be a candidate to open here, as the firm has a successful operation with three or four chippys that are all doing well.

Getting top-notch British products on the shelves of food halls in local department stores would also be a big step in the right direction. The Japanese are willing to pay for quality, even in these difficult economic times.