'Good to be on the road' - Busy summer hopes for fish and chips van

James Bugg has stared a new business venture The Frying Squad PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

James Bugg has stared a new business venture The Frying Squad PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Archant

It's early days for The Frying Squad, a mobile fish and chips van that does regular rounds through Suffolk villages, but the Great Blakenham-based business owner thinks he's in for a busy summer. 

James Bugg, 28, has worked in the ambulance service for three years but recently branched out to open a catering business alongside the emergency shifts. 

For around two months he's worked full-time in ambulances and part-time manning The Frying Squad, but a rising demand has prompted him to make a swap: the food business is going to be his day-to-day with a side helping of emergency response. 

He said: "I decided I'm going to make a real go of the business, though still keep my foot in the door. 

"I worked for a couple of mates over the past two years who own catering vans and I really enjoyed it and enjoyed the cooking aspect so started thinking about getting a van. 

"I asked them what they recommended and they said there weren't many fish and chip vans that go to events. 

"So I bought one and now I've got events coming out of my ears."

James Bugg holding a box of fish and chips from his food van PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Fish and chips isn't the only thing on the menu - sausage, halloumi and vegan options are available PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Archant

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Mr Bugg has been booked for a number of festivals and events, starting over the Easter bank holiday weekend and taking him across the region with appearances at Eastbourne and Ipswich Maritime Festival. 

But he says his "bread and butter" is in the villages, where he's been finding his feet as a trader, making rounds and selling plenty of meals. 

He added: "I like meeting all sorts of people from different parts of the country and the freedom of this. 

"I'm self-taught, I spoke to local shops and watched YouTube videos and absorbed all of that advice, picking the bits I like for my business. 

"It's been an interesting ride." 

As well as the standard chip shop menu, The Frying Squad also caters for vegans and vegetarians (with a separate fryer used to avoid any contamination) and Mr Bugg is also exploring gluten free options.

james Bugg frying some chips in his new fish and chips catering van PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

This will be James's first summer with the business and he's expecting it to be busy PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Archant

"I think it's going to be a very busy summer," he said. 

"Covid has ruined things for everyone the last few years, so I think this year, hopefully, we'll have a bigger influx of people at events and they'll be letting their hair down. 

"And then winter is the quiet period for mobile catering, but that works well because winter is the busiest time for the ambulance service because of the winter pressures, so I can jump on and do some extra shifts there. 

"It's good to be on the road finally, it's exciting. 

"It's also a bit of a challenge, always thinking where we're going to be next, and the fuel price rise is a bit of a nightmare. 

"But I'm sure we'll be alright."