Ryan Patterson (pictured left)
Henley’s of Wivenhoe, Colchester, Essex
David Henley, owner, who says: "As a youngster, Ryan had to undergo a series of operations and visits to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London. I believe this had an impact on Ryan’s education and he may not be the most academic person I have met but he is one of the most enthusiastic employees I have ever had the privilege to work with.
"Ryan started off just helping out with the potato preparation after school and weekends, however his passion and enthusiasm shone through. He is now our assistant manager and a valued member of our team. Everyday he is looking at different ways to drive our business forward."
How long have you worked at Henley's of Wivenhoe?
I have worked at Henley’s of Wivenhoe for just over seven years. My Dad, who is the manager, asked me if I could help out one day as someone had called in sick. I was always interested in catering as I was attending Colchester Catering College.
I worked that Saturday, learning the potato preparation and I met the owner, David, who asked if I would be interested in a permanent position. I said yes and the journey began.
Since then, I have undertaken the NFFF development programme in Customer Service in Fish Frying, its Food Hygiene in Fish Frying and its Health & Safety in Fish Frying. I have also previously entered the Drywite Young Fish Frier competition.
What are your responsibilities?
In the absence of the manager I am responsible for all aspects of operating a successful fish and chip takeaway, making sure our customers receive only the very best quality fish and chips presented and served with the highest standards. I also liaise with suppliers and do all the ordering and stock control. In 2014, Henley’s of Wivenhoe attained MSC Certification, something I am very proud of, and along with this comes strict ordering and storing criteria.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
The interaction with our customers. I get a real buzz when I have prepared a family’s meal and I watch them leaving with big smiles and a thank you, knowing that they will be back.
What's your least favourite part of the job?
Oh that’s an easy one…cleaning the fish trays. We have a wet fish display built into our counter where customers choose their piece of fish. At the end of the day it’s stripped down and cleaned and all the fish trays washed out with hot soapy water. I would rather mop the floor, cash the tills up, anything but the fish trays!
What is it that you like most about working at Henley’s?
I like our working environment. We are all part of a team, not managers and staff, I’ve never liked that expression. We are all work colleagues where everyone’s views are respected.
How do you feel about being nominated as an unsung hero?