For most people, opening a restaurant at the tender age of 22 would involve a hefty loan or a trip to the Bank of Mum and Dad, but Maddy Inoue has different ideas.
For the opening of her first restaurant, Maddy’s Fish Bar, the Deptford-based chef is relying on the kindness of strangers to raise £20,000 through crowd funding.
Kickstarter, an online platform that allows individuals to raise money for creative initiatives by offering rewards in return for donations, has been used to fund projects such as Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ and the ‘Veronica Mars’ movie.
“I think it’s a real fashion thing: people like to buy something that’s not for themselves. We have an intangible sort of buying, we’ve got people from America that have been sponsoring us and it’s not necessarily for their own benefit, they’re not getting anything out of it.”
So far, the Kickstarter project has raised over £4,000 and will be open for donations until January 25 next year.
The money raised will go towards purchasing a state of the art energy efficient fish-fryer, which uses less than 40% of the energy consumed by a normal fryer.
Maddy explains: “I think the fish frying range is going to be what really makes the fish and chips, so we want to use the best quality. If you’re a hairdresser or a writer, you want to use the best equipment that you can, and so do we.”
Maddy said that the menu will be a fresh take on the simple English classic, with an emphasis on sustainability and seasonality.
She reflected: “I’ve been lucky enough that the restaurants I’ve previously worked in have been so focused on only cooking with the meat and the fish and vegetables that are in season. We’ll work to the dates that they’re in and they’re not in – so if cod’s not in season in January it’s not on the menu in January.”
Having started her career at 15 as a prep-chef assistant at Billingsgate Fish market, Maddy has since worked at Scott’s fish restaurant in Mayfair, Hix of Soho and its associated FishDog van, a mobile gourmet fast food stand.
Her love of seafood started at an early age, with trips to her father’s home in Cornwall: “I think my Dad has been a really big influence on me. We grew up in the summer always going fishing with him and eating oysters by the harbour and stuff. And my Mum is from east London so my Granddad is a real East Ender – he loves his jellied eels, and he loves his crabsticks. So I think we’ve always been surrounded and encouraged to really eat and explore different foods.”
Maddy will be working in partnership with friend and chef Becky Daveys, who owns The London Particular, the café next to the fish bar premises on New Cross Road.
Maddy’s Fish Bar is due to open February next year in New Cross.