...George Georgio, owner, Toff's, Muswell Hill, London
What’s your greatest bugbear about our industry?
The lack of appreciation for the hard work that goes in to prepare a fish and chip meal - the dangerous job of fishing, the skilled labour and the expensive running costs to prepare a meal that people perceive should be a cheap meal. If only people appreciated it more.
How did you get into the industry?
I was actually a regular customer at Toff’s whilst I ran my Pizza Express franchise in Muswell Hill. When I sold the franchise back, a restriction was put on the deal that meant I couldn’t sell pizzas in the area. As I knew Toff’s was a renowned chippy, it was a no brainer for me. We needed training, so my brother, Costa, spent six weeks learning the trade before we bought it. We trained in how to identify fresh fish, good cooking practises - it’s far different from making pizzas - and good customer relations and got support from the NFFF.
If you could change jobs with anyone else for the day who would it be?
Being a Chelsea fan, I’d like to swap with Conte, the manager, and celebrate a win by jumping into the crowd.
What’s your favourite film?
The Godfather. The music, the acting and the action, it captures an atmosphere that no other film has for me. If it’s on the TV I daren’t turn the channel, I might wake up with a fish’s head in my bed!
What was the first music single you bought?
David Bowie’s Space Oddity. I felt this song was the first of its kind, it took you on a journey, it never ages, and I knew it was ahead of its time then. Still a fan, sadly missed.
Do you have a nickname?
Mr Johnson. Well, actually, I call everyone Mr Johnson at work including our female staff as I am bad with names, so they call me Mr Johnson back. The regular customers have caught on too.
What did you want to be as a child?
I wanted to be footballer who retires and runs a pub, chatting to the locals about memorable games.
If you could have anyone join your team who would it be?
Andrea and Nedi Toffalli, the founders of Toff’s. They taught us everything we know, and they had a great work ethic. They always put the customer first and over the years no one has ever said a bad word about them. They are good people.
What’s your favourite food?
Fish and chips is up there when it’s done well, I think it is one of the world’s best British dishes, but also being a Greek Cypriot I also like a lamb souvla too.
What sports team do you support?
Chelsea, it was my local team, one bus ride away, I’ve being going since 1972.
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would like to meet comedian Jerry Seinfeld and discuss everything about nothing.
If you were Prime Minister for a day what’s the first thing you would do?
I would negotiate a better deal for our fishing industry and put some funding behind it to encourage future fisherman.
If you could go back in time what year would you choose?
2012 in Munich, Chelsea won the Champions league. Did I mentioned I’m a Chelsea fan?
Do you have any hobbies?
I like football and enjoy time with the family.
What question would you like to ask our next “30 minutes with”?
What would you like to change in our industry?