Alfred Enderby Ltd were the first to try and raise awareness of the special qualities of Grimsby Traditional Smoked Fish. Long before receiving PGI status the company set the standard by which other traditional smokers now aspire. Enderby’s continue to be regarded as the most reliable in delivering consistent quality and service. Many of their customers hold prestigious positions within the food industry and look to Alfred Enderby Ltd as the custodians of a rare and irreplaceable tradition.
For the Enderby family it was in 1936 that their commitment to this tradition began, when a young Alfred Enderby found himself working in one of the towns many curing houses. His sons continue to trade from the same premises to this day. Alfred’s long career would be interrupted only by the Second World War during which he met his Swiss wife Maria Olga.
In 1961 Alfred Enderby bought the business of JW Stookes, which he had been running as Managing Director since returning from the war. The traditional fish smoking factory was then already more than 50 years old and had been built specifically for smoking fish using the traditional tall chimneys. Alfred’s son George started work there two years later.
Alfred soon moved away from the old JW Stookes trade, based mainly on supplying hospitals, to concentrate on smoking cod fillets and finnan haddocks for the more discerning fish merchants on the docks. The business was soon put on a sound financial footing due to prompt payments through the Grimsby FMA settlement system.
With the advantage of a smaller but young and energetic staff the company managed its way through these difficult times. Richard joined his older brother in 1974 with their going into semi-retirement soon after. In 1975 David Berry started with the company. David would give stalwart service over many years and is now a key member of the team.
The 1980s was a decade of transition which saw an improvement in the supplies of fish, the development of a new customer base and the introduction of new products. Natural smoked haddock fillets replaced dyed smoked cod fillets and finnan haddocks as the company’s most successful product.
One species which became ever more available in the 1980s was farm salmon from Scotland. The subsequent reduction in price made it possible to produce good quality, reasonably priced smoked salmon. George adapted the art of normal traditional smoking to salmon, which is a more lengthy process all round. It took him time and dedication to perfect this process and Enderby’s continue to be the only company to have mastered the art. They have smoked salmon successfully for 30 years.
Enderby’s specialise in selling sides of salmon. These are individually smoked to the requirements of the particular hotel or restaurant for which they are destined. They can vary from fully smoked untrimmed sides loosely wrapped for the connoisseur, to fully boned and vacuum packed sides for convenience. This attention to detail, which includes sourcing the salmon only from suitable farms, is only possible with a small, very experienced and dedicated staff.
The search for quality extends to the daily task of buying the best and most appropriate large haddocks for smoking. These are available on the Grimsby fish market every morning. From these the company produces 200 to 600 gram freshly smoked haddock fillets by the following morning. The fillets are then sent to London that night to be enjoyed in many of the capitals most exclusive hotels, restaurants and department stores. They can also be enjoyed by anyone wishing to visit the factory itself.
They cure their fish in the traditional way and smoke them in old smokehouses which smell gorgeous, and I’m sure this helps the flavour. They use only large haddocks and the result is a perfect balance of smoke and sweet fish -Mitch Tonks