Daughter provides inspiration for eco-friendly fish and chips

Buy locally caught fish from Athena in Bexhill and you will be able to learn not only from where and when on the coast it was caught but the name of the boat which landed it and even the skipper of the boat.

Athena, in Western Road, has set out to become as environmentally friendly as it possibly can and has already won an award from the National Federation of Fish Friers in recognition of its efforts.

Out of almost 11,000 fish and chip shops in the UK under 250 hold the award.

Owner and head frier Nick Damurakis takes his inspiration from his one-year old daughter Athena - who the business is named after.

He said: “I want her to grow up in a better place and my philosophy is that I would have to be 100 percent happy to serve to serve her anything we sell.”

To that end, juice sold is 100 percent juice and products like chicken nuggets are not bought in frozen but made by the restaurant from chicken sourced from Farm Assured local producers.

Even the lollipops sold there are organic, sourced from a supplier in the USA.

They also use the All Natural Batter which contains no preservatives, additives, artificial colours or MSG and fry in pure Groundnut oil which is one of the healthiest oils.

It does not end with the food. Where possible everything is made from sustainable materials and recyclable, including cutlery, napkins, paper bags and curry sauce pots.

Using a high efficiency fryer - and LED lighting lowers the carbon footprint and all packaging used is not only recycled but also bio degradable.

Fish such as plaice and lemon sole is caught locally but quota restrictions mean that Athena uses sustainable cod comes from the Arctic Sea and line caught haddock.

For Nick and his wife Jo the business has meant a welcome return to East Sussex where they both grew up.

Since May 2002 Nick has worked in the fish and chip industry at his parents fish and chip shop in Wiltshire for which he has obtained the NFFF award.

Nick also worked part time on a consulting basis for another fish and chip shop in Wiltshire for which he also obtained the NFFF award. As part of his consulting he trained staff and advised the owner on better products and management.

Nick took on Tom Finley as his right hand man. He said: “I met Tom when I was consulting for another award winning fish and chip shop.

“Tom shares my passion. He is very enthusiastic and we intend to enter him this year into the Young Fish Friers competition.

“We will also be hiring between six to eight part time servers from the local community and we are currently in the hiring process.

“We are very excited about the way things are going.”

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