The NFFF is run by fish friers, all of the Directors of the NFFF own fish and chip shop
businesses themselves and carry out the work they do on a voluntary basis. However, based in Leeds the NFFF Head Office employs a small team to keep the NFFF functioning.
We will let you get to know the team in a series of ‘meet the team’ conversations in the digital Fish Friers Review.
Robert Norris – Media Coordinator
How long have you been part of the NFFF team?
I joined the NFFF as the Media Coordinator in September 2014. I had been to Leeds Metropolitan University to study Sports Marketing and PR and finished with a 2:1 degree. From University I undertook some voluntary marketing work at Garforth Town Football club, yes that’s the non-league football team, which welcomed Brazilian superstar Socrates for a cameo game and I worked for Ideal Standards (Armitage Shanks) Bathrooms straight out of Uni… 700 flush valves a day I used to make! I also worked in a local bakery every Saturday morning for 12 years, so the NFFF role came as a nice change.
What roles do you cover?
My main role at the NFFF is producing the Fish Friers Review and when not producing the magazine I will be the one posting items on our social media channels and websites.
I also design most of the collateral which markets the NFFF, so apologies if you don’t like it.
What’s it like to work for the NFFF?
Its unique! When you apply for the National Federation of Fish Friers you wouldn’t have thought there was so much involved! From attending the National Fish and Chip Awards, to getting media enquiries from the BBC, through to international news outlets.
I’ve been to a shop in Fleetwood which had the FA Cup on show and then visited places such as the Kerry Foodservice flour mill in Gainsbrough, all of which have been a great learning experience.
Who cooked your first fish and chips at the NFFF Training Academy?
With the NFFF Training Academy on the ground floor of the NFFF Head Office we do get to sample fish and chips quite often.
My first portion of fish and chip at the NFFF was fried by Mark Drummond.
To be honest I wasn’t the biggest fish and chip fan when I arrived at the NFFF, I quickly learnt that was because I had never really had really great fish and chips!
So, it’s been great welcoming the different trainers to the training academy and trying the different variations which shops produce.
What changes have you seen during your time with the NFFF?
It has been just under 7 years but there have been quite a lot of changes!
I remember when I came for my job interview the training academy was quite run down. Within a year that had been totally transformed.
Fish and chips have continued to be loved and are the nations favourite meal.
When it comes to the media and marketing side, I personally feel I have been able to evolve the Fish Friers Review and have been able to showcase our great members in many ways.
Where do you see the NFFF in 10 years?
The industry will continue to evolve however, in the recent year it’s been great to see shops offering click and collect and deliveries. I have tried both options as a customer and its works great.
Moving forwards, I can only see the industry getting better! Shops are creating brands, and it’s great to see the unique ways shops are marketing themselves.
As the industry grows the NFFF will also continue to grow. From the media side of the NFFF, I see the digital version of the FFR will continue to grow and there is still the need for the printed version of the magazine.
Now tell us about yourself:
What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
Outside of work, I’m a massive Newcastle United fan, which isn’t a great thing to shout about at the moment so the less said on that the better. Away from football, I enjoy sports in general from Rugby League to most recently enjoying the NFL (American Football).
Away from sports my son Archie takes up most of the time. He turned 2 last December and during the height of the pandemic I was having to work at home with him, so if any of you heard him while I was on the phone to you, I apologise for the screaming.
When I can sneak off I also enjoy a bit of wood work, from creating a pallet table for my living room to the light fitting in my attic. I even have a pallet wall which displays a sign that BD Signs kindly made me… a Newcastle sign.
What is your first memory of eating fish and chips?
As I discussed before I wasn’t that big a fan of fish and chips, so thinking back the first memory of mine stems back to when my cousins came down from Newcastle in the summer holidays. They would always arrive with fish and chips, however I would never eat any!
What is your favourite accompaniment to fish an chips?
Has to be Chinese curry sauce, the hotter the better.
Where is your favourite place to eat fish and chips?
As a family we didn’t really go on British summer holidays so eating fish and chips at the coast has never had that great appeal for me, so for me the best place to eat fish and chips links to my son.
He loves to watch airplanes and from the part of Leeds I come from having fish and chips at the end of runway at Leeds Bradford airport is the cool thing to do.
However, saying that, trying to eat fish and chip when a 2 year old is climbing around in the car watching planes take-off soon turns into the worse place to eat fish and chips.
What is your favourite drink with fish and chips?
I’m a full fat Coca-Cola fan, even though I wouldn’t say it’s iconic to have with fish and chips, that would be my drink of choice.