Off The Hook Fishmongers, established in Wadebridge, Cornwall in 2017, began with just a Fishmonger and a dream…
Jon, Owner and now Certified Master Fishmonger, was born in Cornwall in 1979. His mother grew up in Port Isaac and his Grandmother lived and worked in Wadebridge for many years, which is where Jon was determined to have his own shop one day! He had been working as a fishmonger for several years for a large Supermarket chain. His passion for fish began whilst working in the Meat and Fish department. Working hard, being trained and gaining skill, confidence and knowledge, he started entering ‘The British Fish craft Championships’ competitions as often as he could, coming away with many awards, prizes and trophies for his craft. He has also competed in events closer to home at Newlyn Fish Festival. He was promoted to the Company trainer, training new fishmongers up and down the country, whilst becoming well known for his knowledge and skill for the trade. In 2011, he was crowned Winner of the Mastercraft competition.
Jon has a passion for teaching all children about fish, so from a young age they can begin to enjoy the bountiful fruits of the sea. He was chosen to record educational videos for schools, bringing local children into store and local harbour sides to teach them about fresh fish. He has given up his own free time going into schools, talking and demonstrating all aspects of fresh fish and shellfish. Jon’s passion for fresh fish and cooking inspired him to further his knowledge, enrolling in a City and Guilds Fishmonger course run by Billingsgate Seafood School, gaining a high distinction.
Jon soon realised that the availability of fresh Cornish fish was extremely limited for people living in and visiting Cornwall. This, and his passion for fresh fish inspired him to open his own business. After a long search for the perfect location in the heart of Cornwall and with a lot of hard work, dedication and the help of his committed family and friends, Off The Hook Fishmongers opened its doors on 30th August 2017. With a vast knowledge of experience, he had a fair idea of how he wanted his business to run. Having fresh fish deliveries daily, there is a wide variety of stunning fresh fish with displays that will take your breath away. In 2019, at the British Fishcraft Championships in Cardiff, Jon came away with the Champion title for the Falfish Collage Display round! Along with other awards, prizes and more trophies!
As the business took off, we realised that this was going to need more than one person at the helm. So, Jon’s partner Kay, needed no persuasion at all to give up her full-time job and work alongside him to grow the business further. There was no stopping them now! It was quite easy for Kay to pick up on Jon’s passion, she quickly learnt about the different species of fish that we sell, she has an extremely high standard on the quality and appearance of the fish and shellfish. Jon passed on some of his fishmongering skills and Kay has developed her knife skills quickly. Kay has over 20 years’ experience working in retail, she has a great relationship with our regular customers old and new.
With Kay at his side, this gave Jon time to concentrate on his next title! In 2020, Jon became a Master Fishmonger! Run by the Master Fishmonger Standard scheme. To be a certified MFS Fishmonger shows a true commitment to the fish trade and to the future of our oceans. To be passionate about fish and the environment, whilst upholding the heritage and craftsmanship of the fishmonger trade. The Master Fishmonger Standard celebrates professional excellence by certifying fishmongers with extensive professional skills and knowledge. We are extremely proud of this title!
As the first lockdown hit, March 2020 became an uncertain time for us. With our wholesalers minimising their workloads due to hotels, restaurants and pubs being closed, we found ourselves worrying about where we could source our fish so that we could remain open for business. We soon made contact with suppliers from Looe & Newlyn who were able to provide us with the most stunning day boat caught fish, we were blown away with the quality and we have not looked back since! So, we were able to remain open, selling locally caught fish, whilst supporting some of the local fishermen. With reduced hours in the shop, we also ran a local delivery service for those that couldn’t get into town. This worked well for us and before we knew it, we were thrown into the summer! Cornwall had an extremely busy summer which was much needed for all businesses.
Back to full hours in the shop and with the schools being closed, Jon’s daughter Erin, who from a young age has been taught an awful lot about fish, as you can imagine, also started coming into work to help one day a week, supporting her dad in the shop. We have three children between us, so running a business and home schooling didn’t come without its challenges!
As the business is growing, we are now able to offer national deliveries to many of our customers around the UK! This is becoming increasingly popular and with Cornwall’s fishing industry being televised quite heavily of late, we feel that people really are starting to enjoy the experience of our wonderfully fresh fish and shellfish.
We are proud supporters of the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide and we are extremely passionate about sustainability. Being here in the shop, we are hopefully educating the public, not only on how to prepare or cook the fish and shellfish that we sell, but also how it is caught, and which boat they have been caught from wherever possible. We can help our oceans by making well informed decisions when choosing seafood. Look for Cornish seafood labelled with the recommended symbol
We are also proud supporters of The Fishermen’s Mission charity. This is a charity that plays such an important role in the Fishing industry. Sadly, there are too many fishermen that have lost their lives, have endured life changing injuries or hardship. The Fishermen’s Mission are there to support them and their families through such difficult times. Albert is always on our counter for people to donate. We have copies of the Sea Salt & Solitude books on display for customers to purchase, all proceeds go towards the charity. www.fishermensmission.org.uk
We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received throughout the lockdowns, we are extremely grateful for all our returning customers. We hope that you are enjoying the beautiful products of the sea and the passion behind what was once just a dream