Zohaib Hussain, was crowned the Drywite Young Frier of the Year Winner in 2012 following an intense battle.
One of the highlights of his year was to meet and show the then HRH Prince Charles what goes into cooking quality sustainable Fish & Chips. Move a decade forward and Zohaib, has successfully knocked down and rebuilt his Fish and chip shop which is based in the Canton area of Cardiff.
The total Refurbishment of the old site is now unrecognisable as a fresh and modern takeaway on the local high street.
Having been involved in the redesign, fit out and reopening of Zero Plus in Cardiff, Zohaib says he’s “extremely happy” with the finished result. He also added “I wanted to create a unique Fish & chips experience for my customers, so we completely gutted the place and started from scratch. Our concept was to ditch the traditional look and go uber modern, embracing a lot of new technology that was available to us. Our old counter range has been replaced with a High efficiency Wall KFE Range which, where its positioned adds a new dimension to visiting the Chip shop as customers can see their food being cooked in front of them. Customers have loved the new design and often comment to how modern the shop feels”.
Zohaib had direct influence on the quality and sourcing of all the materials used in the refurbishment and a great finish shows the detail he wanted to achieve and did. From sustainable wood panelling to recycled plastic chairs, the whole concept of sustainability has played a central role in this refurbishment.
It must have been the influence of the meeting with Prince Charles that kicked off and stimulated Zohaib’s further commitment to use and promote sustainability throughout the new shop, including all sustainable packaging including compostable packs and wooden forks, long before it became a law in Wales to ban single use plastics. Pioneering full sustainability.
At the opening of the completely refurbished shop, Zohaib invited 50 customers to a ‘Golden Ticket’ event, where, with the support of Simon from KFE (Range manufacturers & installers) and Ryan Hughes from Ship Deck in Trethomas, he created a 5 course taster menu for all his guests. This generous taster menu included a spicy chilli and lime fishcake, a homemade curry, lamb meatballs, homemade burger in addition to the lightly battered Haddock and chips.
The opening was the chance to see the extended shop and the extra’s that Zohaib had installed including an exclusive polished concrete floor finish throughout the whole area, self order kiosks and the new high efficiency range. The ‘Golden Ticket’ event was further enhanced as Zohaib invited all the guests behind the scenes to see the whole back of house kitchen and even invited them to fry with him, “I wanted to treat my customers to the full experience and show them what we had achieved. Some of our guests had been regular customers since Zero Plus first opened 32 years ago, so it was important to show them the strides we were making and what kind of technology we had implemented to make their Fish and Chips the best we possibly could”.
Before closing Zero Plus for his refurbishment, Zohaib had organised a local primary school to bury a time capsule in the floor for the future generation to find, “We wanted to create a fun day for the children of Lansdowne Primary School and it was a way to get the community involved in our shop project. The Time capsule is now buried 2 foot under our newly polished concrete floor and probably won’t be discovered for at least 100 years”.
An added attraction at the new Zero Plus Fish & Chips includes a large Welsh Guards Snoopy which has already been endorsed by the Welsh Veterans Partnership. Tucked away in the corner and coved with a Acrylic casing, the Snoopy was on show across South Wales in the summer of 2022 and gained media attention from across the globe when all 40 sculptures went up for auction after the Trail ended, “ We wanted an Ambassador for our shop and felt the Welsh Guards Snoopy provided the right type of high security that a Fish & Chip shop requires”
Zohaib hasn’t entered any competitions since winning the Drywite Young Fish Frier Award but in 2022 set out to beat fellow Fish & Chip Shop rivals to become the fastest Wrapper of Chips which he achieved in an amazing 40.13 seconds for 5 portions. Officially confirmed by Guiness World Records, the certificate is proudly displayed in his Achievements board in Zero Plus.
This year, Zohaib has entered Zero Plus Fish & Chips into the new National Fish & Chip Awards and has successfully got through the first round and into the Top 40 in the country.