Nfld. & Labrador

A big fish to fry: Stephenville chef wants to break world fish and chips record

D'Arcy Butler is obsessed with the Guinness World Records, and thinks the iconic dish, beloved in the province, is his ticket in.

D'Arcy Butler is obsessed with the Guinness World Records, and thinks the iconic dish is his ticket in

D'Arcy Butler is working to break the Guinness World Record for the largest serving of fish and chips. The record to beat is 121 pounds and three ounces. (Submitted by D'Arcy Butler)

Newfoundland and Labrador loves fish and chips. A staple provincial dish, it's often a big feed with all the fixin's.

Now, one Stephenville man is trying to make the biggest feed of fish and chips ever — and make it into the Guinness World Records book. 

"I was kind of curious, and I didn't even find out the details until I submitted an application to be able to do it," D'Arcy Butler, a culinary arts instructor at the College of the North Atlantic in Bay-St. George, told CBC Newfoundland Morning.

Butler said he has always been fascinated with the Guinness World Records book, and has long wanted to get his name in the book one day — his obsession even earned him a nickname in high school.

"My nickname back then was Cliffy Clavin from Cheers because I seemed to have all the random facts," Butler said. "I've always wanted to get my name in the Guinness records."

When he first found out about the world record for the world's largest serving of fish and chips, he thought the iconic Newfoundland dish would be a great record to attempt to break. After submitting his application, he was approved around Christmas.

"I thought this was a great way to highlight the amazing food that we have on this island," Butler said.

The search for a 70-pound fillet

The current world record for the largest serving of fish and chips, weighing in at 121 pounds and three ounces, was set by chef Cristian Genete and his team in England in 2018.

In order to break the record, there are specific rules that need to be followed. The meal must be a traditional British fish and chips, including batter. The fish must be a single piece, and the weight of the fries can't be more than twice that of the fish; for example, if the fish weighs 60 pounds, there can be no more than 120 pounds of chips.

Check out the current world record holder with a 121-pound feed:

Genete's fillet weighed in at 61 pounds. Butler isn't just trying to beat that record. He's trying to shatter it.

"I've always wanted to go big or go home, so to speak. If we could find one that was 70 pounds or 75 pounds, I'd be all the happier," Butler said.

Butler said the search for a halibut that could yield a 70-pound fillet is difficult, but knows it's not impossible to find off Newfoundland waters.

"I know there have been some rather large fish even caught at this end of the island," Butler said. "They're out there. I just need someone to get it for me."

Once he finds his fish, Butler will fill this 14-inch deep tilt skillet to deep-fry it. (Submitted by D'Arcy Butler)

Butler has spoken with different fishermen around the province but has had no bites yet. He's hoping to entice someone with a big catch to reach out to him and become part of the record-breaking team that will get their name mentioned in the Guinness World Records.

Butler and his team are turning the record attempt into a fundraiser for a community kitchen in Stephenville. Tickets will be sold so the public can watch the record attempt, and take a bite of the world's largest fish and chips.

Although the meal needs to be traditional British, Butler says those who love the Newfoundland style with dressing and gravy will still be able to get it on the side.

"Fee 'n' chee with dee 'n' gee is the way to go."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Kennedy

Journalist

Alex Kennedy works for CBC Newfoundland and Labrador in St. John's.

With files from CBC Newfoundland Morning and The St. John's Morning Show

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