One of the reasons we started Scottish Scran was to discover and highlight the depths of Scotland’s larder.
We knew the basics, but as we develop more and more recipes, we came across some amazing foodies and suppliers of food and drink that perhaps deserve some extra recognition. Or we just love their products so much we wanted to say hello to them!
Below is our chat with The Bay, Fish & Chips, an award-winning fish & chips shop that gained further fame when it was featured in the Lonely Planets Ultimate Eat List, a guide of just 500 of the best eateries in the world!
“Considering the setting, the sustainability and the beautifully cooked fish, is [the Bay] the best fish and chip shop in the world? The constant queue suggests so,” – The Ultimate Eat List – Lonely Planet
We had to speak to them!
Tell us who you are, what you do and describe The Bay.
I am Calum Richardson, chef/director of The Bay Fish and Chips. I started my journey with The Bay in 2006.
The Bay is a multi-award-winning fish and chips shop with a high emphasis on sustainability and the environment. We’re based in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire.
How would you define Scottish cuisine in three words and why?
Seasonal, sustainable and outstanding!
Because Scotland has an abundance of seasonal produce. The negativity towards Scottish weather is misplaced, it’s actually a bonus, it helps create a wide variety of excellent ingredients.
When you add these ingredients to a mix of tried and tested traditional methods and modern technology you can see why Scottish cuisine continues to go from strength to strength.
What was your favourite Scottish dish growing up, who made it and why was it your favourite?
Tattie soup and oatcakes.
My Nana made it, using shin of beef, making it a great meal in the winter months. I used to have it for breakfast before school. I loved the flavours and warmth of it.
It was the perfect comfort food that I remember to this day. Also, it was one of the dishes she taught me to make and one of the reasons I love cooking so much.
Tell us the story of The Bay’s beginning, how did it come to be?
I had sold my previous business of 6 years to start something new, I realised this was my chance to do all the things I had been wanting to do for years.
I believe in organic growth and sustainability. This was my chance to let the business evolve and grow being ahead of the game but not too far ahead that people would not understand or care.
Timing is crucial. I believe sustainability is not only about fish – it is about every product that comes in and out of the business. Passion for food came from my Nana, she taught me a lot when I was younger and I always believed that food brings people together.
I’ve never had a tunnel vision and let The Bay grow organically. The Bay is not only the forefront fish and chips shop but also at the forefront of sustainability.
What makes Scotland and Stonehaven the perfect place for what you do?
We have an abundance of fish in our seas which are local to us. There is no better way to enjoy fish and chips than sitting on the beach, listening to the waves and smelling the sea.
What’s the hardest part of doing what you do?
Unsociable working hours – missing so much time with family, friends and social activities.
What’s the best part of what you do?
Bringing smiles to people’s faces.
What do people assume about running a multi-award-winning fish and chip business?
People think it’s easy to maintain such high levels of quality and that it’s only fish and chips. The truth is – it is a lot of hard work, rewarding but hard!
We’re working everyday to make sure our customers come away understanding why we win the awards we do.
What do people get wrong when making their own fish and chips, any top tips?
Selecting the wrong variety of potatoes. Not washing starch off them. Making their batter too thick.
You should always use cold water for making your batter and don’t be scared to go thinner.
What’s next for The Bay?
Next for the Bay – is to adapt and overcome Covid-19.
We’ve never been scared to make changes but I believe, this is not a time to make big plans, we should focus on the day to day business and look after each other.
Other than The Bay, who or what are your favourite Scottish products/producers?
Product – Langoustines – they are world class and on our doorstep.
Producer – Macsween and their great haggis. We have been using them for over 10 years.
A HUGE thank you to Callum for taking the time to talk to us, we wish you and The Bay every success in 2021 and can’t wait to pay you a visit once we’re allowed to travel!
You can find more information about The Bay on their website here and more importantly how you can try some of their amazing fish & chips! They also love a chat and to share what they’re doing, so follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
If you live nearby they offer an excellent collection and delivery service that is non-contact, it’s a tasty way to support your local businesses!
Next time we speak to Strathearn Cheese Co, an award-winning Scottish cheesemaking business producing exciting artisan cheeses in the heart of Strathearn.
Which Scottish foodie, server or producer would you like us to talk to? Let us know and we’ll drop them a line!