Peter Molepo from Food Lover’s Market Gateway and Johannes Sitole from Food Lover’s Market Lenasia were the first two recipients of the Fish monger of the Year Award, a competition held between December 2019 and February 2020 in all Food Lover’s Market stores.
The competition was held to focus energy on the in-store experience at seafood counters, by creating excitement for the art of fish mongering and to create a platform to support the Food Lover’s Market seafood team through skills development.
“We have been impressed with the knowledge, passion and excitement shown by our fishmongers. We saw a hunger to learn more about the industry, to be guided in best practices and a desire to interact with the best in the business,” says Roelof Brink, Head Seafood Buyer for Food Lover’s Market.
More about the winners
Peter Molepo joined Food Lover’s Market May 2010 as an assistant to the store seafood manager and in 2011 he was appointed as an assistant supervisor. In 2015, Peter was promoted to Supervisor of the seafood department. Molepo is known for always striving to execute through excellence and is respected as a reliable and diligent leader in his store.
Johannes Sitole was head-hunted to join FLM in 2005 as Assistant Supervisor in the seafood department when Food Lover’s Market opened in Hillfox. He took a hiatus from the company in 2012 but rejoined the company in 2015. Sitole has been in the industry for 18 years and has a passion for sharing his knowledge by training younger team members in the business.
The fish awards process brought many learnings
Says Brink, “Through this awards process, we have realised that our seafood counters rival the best fishmongers in Italy or Spain – especially in the winning stores, Food Lover’s Market Gateway and Lenasia. The constant focus on our Best in Fresh proposition shows that the range, service and excellent standards are apparent in our stores.”
Provided that it’s considered safe to travel, the winners and seafood specialists will leave for London on 25 April 2020 to visit suppliers, a fishery and London’s top-end fish retailers. They will then attend a training programme at the well-known Billingsgate Seafood School, where they will receive London’s City and Guilds certification and become the 1st certified fishmongers in South Africa. Says CJ Jackson – Chief Executive of Billingsgate Seafood School, “We are losing the skills of fish mongering in retail as lots of fish species come ready prepared. Being able to view fresh fish and see someone cutting it re-engages the consumer with what they are eating. We are looking forward to working with Food Lover’s Market, sharing our knowledge but also understanding the SA seafood market – we are hoping that this can become a regular collaboration.”
The team will also work together to develop a specific Food Lover’s Market training programme so that their skills can be passed along.
“I can say with pride that we already have what it takes, in most of the stores, to be market leaders in fish. This competition has allowed us to drive this message home and for everyone to be aware of the position we hold and the attention it deserves. Based on the passion and dedication of our staff, the future of fish mongering is bright at Food Lover’s,” concludes Roelof.