Nobody is quite sure who the Fry Up Inspector really is, he is easily the countries most famous critic of the full English breakfast, but like Superman, he keeps his identity a closely guarded secret.
Over the last few years, the Fry Up Inspector has delivered more than 150 comprehensive reviews of different English breakfasts he has eaten whilst on his travels, clearly an interesting character with a deep interest in the fry up, I reached out to him requesting an interview and managed to get some insight into the worlds most famous English breakfast critic. Here is what I asked him.
Tell us how you got started as an English Breakfast food critic/reviewer and a little bit about what drives you to find the perfect English breakfast.
I had posted a few photos of full English breakfasts I had eaten on my facebook page and was amazed at the sheer volume of comments left on each photo. One of the comments suggested I start a blog comparing breakfasts, I couldn't resist the challenge so started my blog back in 2010. An ever increasing number of visitors to the blog and appreciation from my regular readers drives me to keep searching for the perfect fry up. It has since become my life's mission
Tell us about the first English breakfast you remember eating and who made it.
I don't really remember eating many fry-ups as a child but this all changed when I moved to Norwich in 1987 at the age of 15. I lived at the YMCA for 3 years where a fry up was served 7 days a week. Breakfast tickets were given to residents each week, these were exchanged in the restaurant for the breakfast of your choice, I always chose the full English breakfast aka the fry up !
How many places serving an English breakfast have you reviewed ?
I have reviewed fry-up's in about 150 places now.
How many English breakfasts have eaten since you started reviewing them ?
Probably about 200, whenever I eat a fry up it is usually going to be featured on the blog and I try and limit it to 1 a week. Occasionally I cant resist re-visiting some of my favourite places, I have re-visited House Cafe and The Street Cafe in Norwich on many occasions as the fry up served there is consistently excellent and incredibly delicious.
Have you been all round the country, or do you stick to your home area ?
Most of the places I have reviewed are in Norwich but whenever I visit another part of the country I will always take the opportunity to review a fry up. Other places that feature on the blog include Hertford, Brighton, Northampton, Cambridge and the west country. I also like to share my food adventures experienced in other countries, I have already featured Spain, Italy and New York on the blog. In September I am looking forward to searching for the best street food available in Japan!
Do your friends and family keep their ears open for new places for you to try ? Do people write to you and ask you to come and review their place ?
Yes, friends often ask if I have tried somewhere or inform me of any new places that have opened. Quite a few cafe owners have asked me to visit them claiming they are serving the perfect fry up, whenever possible I will.
Do you let a place know that you are coming to review them if you find them randomly?
I always arrive unannounced to ensure I am served exactly the same fry up as everyone else.
Do you announce that you are there to review their fry up when you arrive and if so, how do they react usually when they realise you are reviewing them ?
No, they think I am just a regular customer and never realise I am reviewing them. Getting all the photos I need can be quite difficult, it is all down to good timing and taking them when nobody is looking. I take the photos on my phone as using a camera would be far too obvious.
Once you have finished eating do you tell them that you are going to write about them ?
Once I have finished I leave and they are unaware I was there to review them. When a place is really good I am tempted to tell them on the way out but have so far resisted the urge. The first they usually know about my visit is when the review is published on the blog.
Tell us about the best English breakfast experience you ever had.
I have had so many excellent breakfast experiences but the one that stood out the most was at E. Pellicci in Bethnal Green, Hertford. The grade II listed cafe has stood in the East End of Hertford for over 100 years and has a stunning art deco wood panelled interior. It is a family run business and we were made to feel really welcome, the regulars clearly loved it too. Classic sugar pourers and squirty sauce bottles could be found on each table and the breakfast was just amazing.
All the ingredients I like on a breakfast were available and they even made their own delicious bubble and squeak. There are not many classic Hertford cafes around anymore so it was such a pleasure to find this one that was clearly doing so well still and refusing to make way for yet another Starbucks.
Please tell us about the worst English breakfast experience you have ever had.
I once stayed at a guesthouse in Peterborough, I was delighted to see they served a full English breakfast. The following morning I was served a half cooked jumbo sausage (pink in the middle) an undercooked fried egg and cold beans on top of 2 undercooked slices of toast. I couldn't eat it so made a dash for the door when nobody was looking as I didn't want to appear ungrateful.
When you cook a fry up what ingredients do you use ?
I tend not to make my own anymore as it is always cheaper to go out and eat one than buy all the ingredients needed, and there is the added bonus of no washing up too! On the odd occasion that I do make one I would always use quality sausages and bacon, free range eggs, vine ripened tomatoes, mushrooms, beans and toast.
Do you think that you will ever get bored of eating an English breakfast ?
I always look forward to eating a full English breakfast each week so can't imagine ever getting bored of it.
Do you have any tips for our readers to help them find their own perfect English breakfast ?
I have always found that independent cafes tend to offer a far better breakfast and friendlier service than restaurant/cafe chains. An increasing number of places now use locally sourced ingredients and free range products, these breakfasts I find are the ones I enjoy the most. I always research a place before visiting and read customer reviews online, this usually gives you an idea of what to expect.