​Andrew Calleja, the visionary behind Clopton Catch, champions one belief: Quality above all else.

​Andrew Calleja, the visionary behind Clopton Catch, champions one belief: Quality above all else.

Posted by Emily on 25th Feb 2020

‘Fresh food comes to those who wait’ is the ethos at Clopton Catch in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, and owner Andrew Calleja is so proud of it that he’s had it emblazoned in huge lettering across the back wall of his newly opened takeaway.

Located away from the tourist trap of the main town but close to the Welcombe Hills nature reserve, the chippy opened with a bang back in October, and it’s been non-stop ever since.

With a menu offering something for everyone, there’s a huge focus here on freshly prepared produce from its cod, haddock and hake to its chicken burgers, beef burgers and even a vegan chilli. And if it’s not homemade, you can bet it comes from a local supplier - like its sausages and lamb and chicken kebabs.

But it’s not just the food here that’s top quality. With a focus on running a zero-plastic operation, everything front-of-house is a glass, cans or paper product.

“We are not a traditional shop, no chance. I’m not a follower; I like to be a leader,” says Andrew, who has also managed a McDonald’s in his time and launched and ran The Island House, a busy fish and chip restaurant in nearby Wolverhampton.

“The processes, the practices, the look of the shop, the packaging, everything about it. I wanted to escape the traditional image of a fish and chip shop.

“My concept is fresh food comes to those who wait. We cook everything to order, I don’t cook anything until the customer walks in the door, people like that. There are so many operators with bad habits, and they tarnish the industry.”

It’s not just Clopton Catch’s main menu that’s varied; its chips come in a range of options from plain and piri piri to sweet potato and cheesy.

Andrew comments: “I’ve been doing battered chips for over 20 years, but ours aren’t luminous orange or caked in batter; we do ours in a very light coating, it’s all 100% natural, and the chips are fried in vegetable oil that is filtered every day. It gives a really good product that’s soft on the inside and extra crispy on the outside.”

Keen to maximise every sale, Clopton Catch sells combo meals comprising items like cod, haddock, hake and pressed roe with chips and a choice of either mushy peas, curry sauce, baked beans or gravy. It means the takeaway sells a lot of sides and with Andrew using Ceres Curry SauceCeres Gravy Mix and Pre-Dust Number One, and Ceres Mushy Pea Seasoning, it’s another area where quality comes first.

Andrew comments: “I’m not loyal to a brand; I’m loyal to what is the best. At the end of the day, the flavour has to be on the mark; it has to complement the fish and chips.

“The quality of Ceres is fantastic and the products work really well with my concept. The curry sauce has a nice flavour and colour and it looks like a quality product so it complements my recycled containers and boxes.“Ceres Gravy has a lovely deep flavour too. Its Mushy Pea Seasoning is idiot-proof, and you don’t get that luminous green colour you can get with other mushy peas.”

Andrew makes no excuses for the fact his prices are higher than average for the area, adding: “The way I look at it is if I’m buying the best fish, the best potatoes, the best natural ingredients and serving that to the customer in the best packaging, in clean surroundings, I want to make my mark-up on that.

“But the conviction of price has got to be backed up by the product. Our prices certainly reflect the quality we serve. I would rather give my customers a quality product and show them what they are getting for their money than blag it.”