Chapman’s of Sevenoaks, wholesale fish suppliers, opened its doors to local catering businesses last week at the Rock Channel fish processing plant, located off Fishmarket Road.
Since acquiring the factory premises on lease from the Rye Partnership about two years ago, the company has undertaken a major refurbishment with the installation of processing, grading and refrigeration plant.
Potential customers in the catering industry, restaurateurs and wholesalers were invited to see the production facilities and the quality of the produce. There they met Mark Bryant and Mark Apps, the local managers, with company director Louise Wright from Sevenoaks.
Peter Farina was one of those invited. He runs The Owl restaurant at Camber, which is fast getting known as a fine fish restaurant, he said. He was pleased to have another good source of supply “depending on price, of course” he added.
I also met Kevin Beale of Maws For Fine Food Ltd., based in Hawkhurst. His firm are wholesale food suppliers. He commented: “It’s brilliant giving hotels and restaurants fresh fish on their doorstep so they can choose the catch of the day, without it being brought down from Billingsgate”.
Chapman’s have 12 boats under contract based in Rye and Hastings, consisting of “netters” and trawlers, representing the different methods of catching fish. It regularly processes seven tonnes of fish of various species, most of which is shipped to Zeebrugge for the Belgian market.
Its UK business is supplying prime fish to restaurants in London and the South East, including their own seafood restaurant in Canterbury. Its aim is to further develop the UK market, said Mark Bryant: “our local partnerships with fishermen, as well as our own boats at Rye, allow us to transfer fish straight from the nets, through our depot and to our customers in only a few hours.
Photo: Kenneth Bird