Chip champs win top honours
A Nelson couple who left a farm in Germany to run a fish and chip shop have been named as the best chip-makers from here to Christchurch.
Victory Square Fish and Chips was awarded the Nelson and Christchurch regional winner in the Chip Group Ltd's Best Chip Shop Competition this year. It is among six regional winners from across New Zealand.
Ekkehardt and Malia Klinge were living on a farm in Mr Klinge's native Germany when they bought the shop on Trademe in October last year. Kiwi-born Mrs Klinge said the couple had spent seven years searching for "something to do" in New Zealand after her husband developed back problems which meant he could no longer drive a tractor.
She had a good feeling about the business right from the start, saying the radical lifestyle change had been very positive.
"We just knew that [former owners Maureen Machin and Mark Staddon] were genuine and it was going to be a good business."
She said Ms Machin and Mr Staddon had spent a month teaching her and her husband how to run the fish and chip shop properly after they took over, saying the couple were still available for advice and support. Victory Square Fish and Chips won the same award under their ownership in 2011.
"It was nice for us to be able to continue that tradition," said Mrs Klinge.
She said they had inherited "really excellent staff" from the former owners. In the shop, Mr Klinge deals with the fish while Mrs Klinge manages the shop, staff and supplies. Their four children also help out.
Food educator and Chip Group chair Glenda Gourley said its judges chose Ekkehardt and Malia Klinge's shop as regional winner because they served the tastiest chips with the lowest fat content.
"Kiwis love hot chips so it is very important that not only are they delicious but that they have the minimum fat content," Ms Gourley said.
She said poorly cooked chips could be up to 22 per cent fat by the time they were processed and cooked, but all the chip shops which scored a win or a "highly commended" were less than 9 per cent fat.
Entrants were also judged on chip taste, quality, shop cleanliness and customer service. Ms Gourley said Victory Square Fish and Chips customers told her they came from all over Nelson to buy their chips.
"Their staff take such pride in their work and their chips are absolutely delicious," she said. "We also received enthusiastic testimonials from their very loyal customers."
Among the seven Nelson and Christchurch venues which won "highly commended" awards were Milton St Takeaway and Richmond Takeaways.
The winner of the national "Best Chip Shop Competition Champion 2013" will be picked from among the six regional winners, and will be announced on September 25.
- © Fairfax NZ News