​Frying with Heritage: Marcus French on Sustaining a Century-Old Business

​Frying with Heritage: Marcus French on Sustaining a Century-Old Business

Posted by Emma on 10th Apr 2024

In episode 149 of the Ceres Podcast, we had the pleasure of hosting Marcus French, the heart and soul behind the renowned French Fish Shop in Wells-next-the-Sea. A third-generation frier, Marcus brings to the table not just years of experience but a legacy that dates back to 1921, when his grandparents laid the foundation of what would become a beloved family business. His journey, deeply intertwined with the evolution of this iconic shop, serves as a living testament to the enduring appeal of high-quality fish and chips.

Marcus's story is one of dedication, tradition, and innovation. Born into the fish and chip industry, he was groomed from a young age to carry forward his family's legacy. His early years involved learning the ropes, from fetching potatoes to mastering the perfect batter - a recipe that, while maintaining its core, has seen adaptations over the years, such as the switch from cochineal to beta carotene, underlining the shop's commitment to keeping up with the times without losing its essence.

French's Fish Shop, a fixture in the seaside town of Wells-next-the-Sea, has weathered the ebb and flow of seasons, remaining a constant in a town that has seen significant changes. Marcus shared insights into the shop's history, including the transition from one generation to the next and the technological advancements in frying equipment that have helped maintain the shop's reputation for quality. He also touched on the community and industry connections formed through events like Chippy Chat and The Chip Barons Ball, underscoring the sense of camaraderie and mutual support among those in the trade.

Looking to the future, Marcus expressed excitement over his daughter Alanna's involvement in the business, ensuring that the family legacy continues to thrive. He spoke of the challenges and rewards of running a seasonal business, the importance of balancing tradition with innovation, and the shop's role in the community of Wells-next-the-Sea.

The conversation with Marcus French was not just a dive into the history of French's Fish Shop but also an exploration of the values that have sustained this family business through generations: a commitment to quality, the ability to adapt, and a deep-rooted sense of community. As French's looks ahead, it stands as a beacon of tradition and innovation in the fish and chip industry, promising to keep the legacy alive for generations to come.