A DUNGANNON chip shop proprietor is off to Africa for a world first record attempt.
Chippy hero, Malachy Mallon, of the Dolphin Dungannon and Alan Hanna, PitStop, Kilkeel boarded a plane on Friday last to Tanzania to attempt a world first – by opening the world’s highest pop-up chippy on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Their epic mission is now officially underway, and their high-frying climb takes place between 1st and 8th September, in a bid to raise at least £10,000 for the Fishermen’s Mission charity.
Their first stop ahead of the climb will be Fortune Kids Orphanage and Education Centre in Tanzania, where they will also cook and make a donation.
The Northern Ireland duo have the backing of many of the chippy industry’s big names and it’s all hands on deck with McWhinney’s Sausages as title sponsor and Kerry Foods, Unique Seafood Ltd and Florigo Frying Solutions also backing the record-breaking attempt, as category sponsors.
Spirits were high as the sponsors gathered recently at Kilkeel Harbour, County Down, home to the Fishermen’s Mission to wish Malachy and Alan good luck on their trip, which is entirely self-funded.
Award winning Malachy, who owns the newly-opened Dolphin II in Armagh City, and NI’s Best Chippy 2018, the Dolphin, at George's Street, Dungannon, commented: “We’ve had such good crack with our sponsors and Lesley and Ingrid from the Fishermen’s Mission in Kilkeel and we are proud to have so many fantastic people backing our challenge.
“How lucky we are to be part of an industry that can gladly unite and work together for this important charity. Respect and admiration to each and every one of our sponsors.”
The Northern Ireland chippy duo have been training together in the Mourne Mountains, County Down since last Autumn, come rain hail or shine, but they still have quite a few challenges to overcome.
However, Malachy, who has held the Northern Ireland Regional Winner’s title in the National Fish & Chip Awards (NF&CA) for the past three years, is optimistic about the frying conditions at 4650 metres above sea level. He said,
“Alan and myself have over 50 years chippy experience between us, as well as eight National Awards so we hope we can adapt to a more challenging frying environment.
“It has taken quite a bit of juggling to get logistics right. We have to get our product and equipment, as well as ourselves, up to 15,255 feet!
“Thankfully the company we are travelling with, Ian Taylor Trekking has been amazingly supportive of our random requests!
“We have a solid plan in place and with the help of our amazing sponsors, Kilimanjaro guides and the Barafu Camp kitchen crew we’re determined to create the world’s highest chippy.”
Pre-climb nerves may be starting to kick in but the intrepid climbers are firmly focused on the end result, helping the fishermen without whom there would be no fish and chip industry.
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Footnote: The Dolphin in Dungannon was recently included in the UK Top 20 shortlist for the Fish and Chip Shop of the Year in the 2019 National Fish & Chip Awards.