Three generations have gone into the making of one of the owners of Okotoks’ newest restaurant, The British Chippy. Gary Hodgkinson’s great-grandfather, grandfather and father all owned chippies in Wiggin, England.
Gary and his wife, Simone, moved from England to Canada in 2001 and like the rest of us really missed true English Fish and Chips and Mushy Peas. They decided to open The British Chippy in Bridlewood, Calgary five years ago and after the success they experienced there decided to open a second Chippy in Okotoks.
Why Okotoks? “Because there is a large contingency of British people living here, it is close to our home in Calgary and I love the village-feel of Okotoks,” said Simone.
A bit of a perfectionist, Simone, found the first two weeks ‘scary, crazy, bonkers’. “I wanted to hide,” she said, “because there were too many customers and I like to service people and with that many people I didn’t feel I was doing the right thing.” Obviously from the steady run since then she did do the right thing.
Gary and Simone have years of Fitness, Health and Nutrition experience so I asked the question a lot of people think about: “How nutritious are fried fish and chips?” The answer was instantaneous “REAL fish and chips are very nutritious because our fish is once-frozen at sea, it’s cooked in a good batter that steam cooks the fish inside the pocket of batter. Our potatoes are organically grown. The size of our chips means that there is a larger circumference for our non-GMO Canola oil to touch and the inside of the chip has a lot more potato than other ‘French Fries’ that you buy. Potatoes and fish are very nutritious”.
Then I was introduced to a poster that really spelled it out:
Calories per 100 grams:
Real Fish and Chips – 595
Pizza – 871
Burger and fries – 888
Doner Kebab – 942
Mushy Peas fans will be pleased to know that The British Chippy peas are soaked overnight and then cooked for three hours. If they run out that’s it – no microwaved leftovers. If they have any left over (which doesn’t happen very often) they are disposed of, not reheated the next day.
Only traditional fish is served here too, Cod or Haddock – you’d never find Pollock or Snapper in a chippy in Britain.
A new addition to the menu is Battered Sausages – a delicacy I have yet to try because I can’t get past the Fish and Chips and Mushy Peas without being full!
Preparing a good meal of fish and chips is an art and Gary was trained by Arthur, a 78-year-old man with loads of experience from the UK Fish Fryers Federation. Everything on the menu at The British Chippy is done by hand from eyeing the spuds to making the batter from scratch.
Take-out is encouraged too with a recommendation to phone in your order. Everything is cooked fresh and the fryers only hold so many servings at a time.
To call in your order: 587-757-9995 but read their menu first at www.thebritishchippy.com.
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays The Chippy is open the rest of the week from 11:30 to 2:00 and from 4:30 to 8:00pm and on Sundays from 4:30 to 7:00pm.
For a real treat try a Lilt, Vimto, Dandelion and Burdock or Irn Bru with a Chippy Barm. Banana fritters dusted with chocolate and icing sugar, served with ice cream is a delicious desert to round out your meal.
The Okotoks location also has a patio to double the size of the restaurant in summer. Small office parties, Christmas parties, Birthdays and business meetings can be booked on Mondays and Sunday lunchtime even though The Chippy is normally closed at those times.