IT’S not every day a celebrity chef pops into your local chip shop.
So imagine the surprise of staff at Whitings Fish and Chip Shop in Llay when Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch host Simon Rimmer stopped by for a bag of their finest.
Simon – who rose to fame on the cult TV show Something for the Weekend – made a flying visit to the takeaway on Council Street while visiting his friend, former Wrexham FC striker Neil Roberts.
The award-winning chef, 49, took the opportunity to congratulate owners Chris Whiting and Julie Pearson on their recent five-star hygiene rating.
Julie told the Leader: “Simon was a lovely chap who was very down to earth.
“We made him a cup of tea and he gave him a little tour. He tried our chips and seemed really impressed. He congratulated us on the five-star hygiene rating, and asked us how we attained it.
“I’ve followed Simon’s work for a long time so I was actually quite starstruck.”
The takeaway – then known as Llay Fish Bar – hit the headlines in 2009 following an outbreak of fatal stomach bug E.coli.
Young mother Karen Morrisroe, of Rhosnesni, almost died when complications set in and three-year-old Abigail Hennessy, from Llay, spent two weeks in hospital being treated for kidney failure.
There were three other less serious cases in Wrexham and a further four in neighbouring Oswestry.
Ramazan Aslan, operator of the fish bar at that time, admitted six food hygiene offences brought by Wrexham Council and at Mold Crown Court in February 2010 was sentenced to eight months in prison.
But last year Wrexham businesswoman Julie, 45, and partner Chris, 39, spent £40,000 on a total transformation of the shop and turned the business around.
It was later awarded the top-band hygiene rating by Wrexham Council.
Julie added: “I was devastated at what happened, as was the whole community.
“But the support from villagers in Llay when we tried to get the business back on its feet was invaluable.
“Some swore they would never return to the takeaway but they did and we could not have done it without them.”