A lot of fun food brands start out by joining weekend markets, and Chuck’s Grub Fish & Chips is no exception. A product of Mercato Centrale, the chippy shop quickly became a cult favorite among foodies young and old, and it was only a matter of time before husband-and-wife team Enrique Valles and Isha Andaya-Valles (former Stylebible.ph managing editor, woot woot!) decided to pursue the business full time. FN caught up with Isha over a feast of, yes, fish and chips!
1. The home of fish and chips
Fish and chip shops are almost everywhere in London. “For [the English], it's like street food. I mean, it's your everyday local food,” says Isha. “You go to a chipper, chippy, after drinking on your way home or after dinner.”
Fact: Isha’s husband, Enrique, has a favorite fish and chip shop in London called Geales. Look it up!
2. The beer in beer battered
While fish and chip shops serve beer-battered fish, it does not mean to say that the fish contains alcohol. “It's easier for [parents] to feed kids fish so they would always ask us about beer batter, if it's safe for kids or whatever, but beer naman cooks off, all the alcohol content goes away.”
Fact: Beer is mixed into the batter to give the coating that delicious crunch and golden color; it doesn’t affect flavor.
3. The difference between the fish
“Dory’s always a big seller” with its soft and tender white meat. Halibut is a more premium choice and has a “succulent” and “sophisticated” flavour. Cobbler is “less fatty than Dory and has a more distinct taste.” Cod “has the same bite as snapper, I would say, it’s got a firm bite, but snapper kasi it’s got a little of that fishier flavor.”
Fact: Isha’s favorites used to be cobbler and halibut, but as of this interview, she has switched to cod.
4. The frying process
“The batter forms a shell, it's like a crisp outer shell around the fish… so [it] is kept inside the pocket, it doesn't actually touch the oil, and the fish poaches inside so it retains that soft, almost like a steamed quality,” Isha explains.
Fact: It’s hard to tell the fish apart once they’ve been fried, but the Dory might look bigger because “it's a thin flat fillet, so it looks big when you fry it.” The Halibut, on the other hand, might look smaller because “the meat is more siksik (packed) and the fatty deposits are like really more dispersed within the meat.”
5. The Chuck in Chuck’s Grub
Interestingly enough, there is no Chuck. Isha explains that the name sort of came from her friend photographer Sara Black. “When I first started dating my husband, she didn't catch his name right away, and so she said, she kept referring to him as Chuck because he looks like a Chuck!
Fact: Chuck’s Grub Fish & Chips used to be Chuck’s Grubbery when it was still with Mercato Centrale. It was originally supposed to be Chuck’s Chippy, but Isha’s nephew wanted to sell cookies with them. That didn’t push through but the name stuck.
(Photo courtesy of Chuck's Grub)