Waikato's top chip shop
It's the ultimate in kiwiana, say ownersJEREMY SMITH
Cambridge's Queen Vic Chippy is frying high after being named the region's top chip shop.
It has taken just 10 months for new co-owners Amanda Duggan and Bernie Hilbers - both qualified chefs - to win the 2013 Best Chip Shop competition for the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay region. "This has been my goal right from the start of when we entered the competition back in June," Ms Duggan said yesterday.
"It has been a lot of hard slog and now the hard work has all paid off."
The biennial competition is run by industry watchdog The Chip Group and is a chance for shops to showcase their product.
The competition is a rigorous process, including everything from chips being laboratory-tested for fat content through to mystery shopping rounds.
As well as the laboratory testing, entrants were also judged on chip taste, quality, shop cleanliness and customer service.
Food educator and The Chip Group chairwoman, Glenda Gourley said the quality of entries overall in the competition was very high.
"Last time we ran the competition, in 2011, we had 18 regional entries and the average fat content of the fries was about 9.9 per cent. This time we had 47 regional entries and the average fat content was 7.8 per cent. So the standard is definitely higher.
While Ms Duggan and Mr Hilbers' foray into the world of fish and chips is relatively recent, their association with hospitality in Cambridge is long-standing.
They said they were involved in establishing the GPO Bar & Brasserie, located in Cambridge's iconic former post office building.
"What I really love," Ms Duggan said when asked about the creation of top quality chips, "is the fact that it is our product straight out of my hands and into the hands of our customers."
"We honestly couldn't have hoped for more," Mr Hilbers said of the win. "We have loved being here so far. We heard that the old owner was selling and we thought 'we should buy a fish and chip shop'.
"We're really into Kiwiana and, well, running a fish and chip shop - it's the ultimate in Kiwiana, isn't it?"
So, what is the secret to a winning chip?
"It's consistency; it's pride.
"You have to have good quality equipment and good oil. We use rice bran oil; it's magic," Mr Hilbers said.
"You can't let the oil get too old. We have new oil every week."
The Queen Vic Chippy will vie with five other regional winners for the national title which will be announced on September 25.
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