The Western Australian Competition
2017 Western Australian winner of both judged Best Fish and Chips and People's Choice:
OCEAN AND PADDOCK
Name: Trenton Brennan
Business and location: Ocean & Paddock, Albany, WA
Can you share a happy fish and chip memory?
Catching and eating fresh fish is a happy memory from my childhood. I grew up on a Merino sheep farm in Coral Bay (about 1200km north of Perth). It was beautiful and we spent much of our time swimming, fishing and diving, before and after school. With our food coming on the mail truck every fortnight, it was often a choice between mutton or freshly caught fish. So, seafood was really important to us. Our mainstays were Red Emperor, Red Throat Emperor and rock lobster. I think fresh fish brings a sense of nostalgia to lots of people.
Where have you eaten the best fish and chips?
I’ve been a chef in restaurants across Australia, the Maldives and Malaysia and also a private chef in Aspen, Colarado. I’ve eaten great fish at many of those restaurants but I think we do it pretty well here in Albany too.
In your business, what do you consider to be the best fish to use for fish and chips?
We use Bight Red Fish. It’s a premium fish caught in our region. Because it’s not available everywhere, it’s great being able to showcase it in our shop. It also performs very well. It has a medium flake and a delicate, non-fishy flavour. It is also non-oily, holds together enough to cook but falls apart in the mouth.
And how do customers enjoy it?
Customers enjoy it any way, but about 80 per cent choose to have it battered. We’ve introduced a gluten-free batter and often find 20 per cent of our orders are for gluten-free options. A lot of customers who are gluten intolerant have missed out on fish and chips for years. But with a dedicated gluten-free fryer, they are finally having it again.
Do you have a personal favourite?
I buy the best fish I can for our customers, and as a family, we eat that too. I like using Perth-based Kakulas Brothers’ Lemon Pepper to make a crumb for my fish and will eat it with some homemade tartare sauce.
What Australian wine (or other beverage) would you match with your fish and chips?
I’d suggest a local pale ale – Rough Seas – from Albany-based Wilson Brewing Company.
How long have you been making and serving fish and chips? I’ve been a chef for about 20 years and worked with seafood within those restaurants. We’ve had this business for just over a year and have learnt from early mistakes along the way.
What value does winning the award have for you?
The validation is great. It shows that we’re achieving what we aimed for when we set out to take a ‘chef’s approach’ to the traditional fish and chip shop. My wife Rebecca and I have put everything into our business and it’s great to know that what we are doing is working.
Do you think it can help to promote the consumption of seafood in Australia?
I think the awards show that you can build a sustainable business based on Australian seafood and produce. The awards are shining a spotlight on an iconic Australian dining experience that now has to compete with many other options.
Public voting for Judged Best Fish and Chips closed at 1 July 2017 at 5pm. People's Choice voting for WA closed on 28 July 2017 at 5pm
Top Five were:
1. Ocean and Paddock
2. Bayside Fish and Chips
3. Blue Ocean Fish and Chips
4. Fisch on Broadway
5. Sweetlips Fish and Chips Fremantle