Morecambe dad's bid to launch unique solar powered fish chowder business
A Morecambe chef has come up with an unusual idea for a new way to serve his favourite dish - and is well on the way to seeing his dream come true.
Pete Stephenson has set up Morecambe Bay Chowder Co, a small family-run mobile business aiming to celebrate local produce, which he hopes will take off from next month.
Pete plans to sell his home-made BayChowder dishes - which will be made using locally sourced produce - from a solar powered bike operating from various points across Morecambe and Lancaster.
"We will be a bit different," he said. "Our catering unit will be an old-fashioned ice-cream bike converted to serve our dish. It will be emission-free and solar powered."
Former teacher Pete moved to Morecambe 10 years ago. He and his wife have children aged two and five.
"When I moved to Morecambe it was the best fish and chips I had ever had," he said.
"I have always been a passionate amateur chef and it's something I wanted to get into. I thought there was an opportunity to serve something a bit different with a different experience outdoors.
"I have family in Vancouver and I have seen how they celebrate their local cultures over there and I wanted to do something similar. I have been tweaking my recipes for a couple of years now.
"The idea has been in the pipeline for two to three years and we had looked at starting last spring, but then lockdown came and we have two young children and the time wasn't right.
"The dream eventually is to open a cafe but initially we are raising money for the bike and hopefully will serve in Morecambe and Lancaster and maybe also other places such as Heysham, Bolton-le-Sands and Hest Bank.
"We will be operating pretty much full-time - if it's a clear day, we will be out. We hope to have regular spots so that people will know where we will be."
Pete's signature dish will be served in a sourdough bowl
He has also joined up with Greenwood's Fish Merchants of Morecambe and Stuart's Fresh Fish in Fleetwood, who will both provide produce for his dishes.
Pete said: "Stuart deals directly with fisherman every day and will provide us with the best of the day's catch! Tom at Greenwood's has taken over the 20-year run family business and can supply us with daily fresh, high quality fish, all from UK waters.
"We also can confirm The Port of Lancaster Smokehouse will be supplying us with fantastic Cumbrian bacon as an option to add to your chowder."
Also on board are Stephenson’s Dairy in Morecambe and George Speight & Sons of Lancaster.
Following a leafleting exercise across the district, Pete has seen more than 600 local people show their support for his idea.
Recent taste testing events in Bare and at Bay Medical Group in Heysham also went down a storm.
Pete is now close to realising his dream thanks in part to launching a rewards-based crowdfunding scheme to raise the money needed for his solar powered catering bike.
Anyone interested can sign up online here to help him on his way - with just a few hundred pounds more needed to reach his target.
"It's great to know so many in our community are enthusiastic about high quality local food," he said. "People seem quite excited by the idea."