Popular chip shop owner Jonathan Farrow returns to the Magnet Fish Bar in Dean Lane, Bedminster
A POPULAR chip shop owner is returning to the original premises where he first made his name.
Jonathan Farrow, 48, who owns Farrows chip shop on Wells Road, Totterdown has again taken over the lease of the Magnet Fish Bar in Dean Lane, Bedminster.
It comes more than 20 years since he first reopened the empty shop in 1989.
Mr Farrow, who lives in Weston-super-Mare, is a past winner of The Post's Chippie of the Year award.
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He first won with the Magnet in 1992, but also received awards for Farrows in Totterdown and with a shop of the same name in Kingsway, St George.
The former property developer has been cooking up fish and chips since a property crash in the late 80s.
He said: "I used to buy properties and renovate them and one of them happened to be a fish-and-chip shop in Dean Lane, Bedminster.
"When the property crash came, I was left with the derelict chippy and I decided to give it a go."
Mr Farrow, who was brought up in Saltford and attended St Brendan's School before it became a sixth form college, was given the basic skills by a man from Wisbech who manufactured fish-frying equipment.
He said: "The man told me it was important to set your opening hours and stick to them, keep quality up and not to charge silly prices."
Mr Farrow admits he is a perfectionist and has high standards to match.
He uses palm oil instead of vegetable oil, which is clean every day, and says the temperature for cooking is critical.
He sources his fish from Icelandic waters, which are prepared and frozen on board ship, and he uses Maris Piper potatoes which are grown in Cambridgeshire.
His fish and chips are cooked to order, which means the fish is not put into the oil until a request is made.
The chips are blanched ready for cooking so they too are delivered to order.
He said: "I have always cooked to order - it is my hallmark.
"A piece of fish is very quick to cook – if you put it in a heated cabinet it starts to deteriorate immediately, going soft on the bottom and dry on top."
Mr Farrow, previously relinquished his lease on the Magnet to concentrate on his other shops, but is now ready for the reopening on Monday at 5pm.
"Quite a bit of nostalgia led me to return to the Magnet," he said.
"It's been fairly neglected over the years, and I wanted to bring a bit of life back into it.
"A lot of people remember me running it years ago, and while I've been outside the shop doing the refurbishments, people have come up to me welcoming me back.
"I've also put up a sign which says Under Old Management, which has generated a lot of excitement.
"Many people have said it's like I'm coming home, and in a way I am - my dad was a Bedminster boy, having worked in the Imperial Tobacco Factory, and I consider myself a bit of a Bemmy boy too.
"A husband and wife team will be running Farrows in Totterdown and I will be at the Magnet full time training staff. The only thing that people can expect to be different from when I ran it in the 80s is that we won't be cooking in beef dripping anymore!"