Mrs Fisken: Meet the producer
An air of secrecy surrounds Guernsey producer Mrs Fisken, who has been making sought after paté in many guises for more than 35 years.
The story of Mrs Fisken’s paté starts when she and her husband owned Robert Smiths deli. The deli sold a range of products but Mrs Fisken started making the paté as a way to make extra funds and increase the local offering. Long after the deli closed and still today, the paté is much loved.
Years later, several women have been at the helm of the business but the name and the recipe have and will remain unchanged.
The current owner says: ‘It’s a bit like Mr Kipling in the sense that no-one really knows Mrs Fisken.
‘I hear people say all the time it’s amazing how Mrs Fisken is still making it after all these years!’
Who’s the mystery lady behind the product now?
‘I took the business on five years ago. It was a good business to take on because I wanted to work from home,’ the islander explains.
‘I have always wanted to cook and after 25 years in finance, redundancy came along, which was a great opportunity to retrain and try something new.
‘I went to Guernsey College of Further Education and told them I wanted to cook. They have a range of really good courses which allow you to choose modules and learn lots of skills. I did that and then I started working in a food kiosk for the summer.’
An opportunity came up to take over the business and our secret producer jumped at the chance.
Why is the paté so well loved by visitors and locals alike?
It takes a day to make the paté and then the process involves cooling and packing. It is then hand delivered to a number of Guernsey shops and our stores.
The freshest local ingredients are used in each batch, including Guernsey Dairy butter and cream.
‘One of the nicest things is the support from local people and hearing families say they always buy it for special occasion and everyone loves it,’ the producer says.
‘The product sells out very quickly when I deliver fresh batches and that is so rewarding. Especially to know it’s on the weekly shopping list and also part of special occasions.
‘To have the support from the Co-op is just vital. I am probably one of the smallest producers the Co-op stocks and to have the marketing support and be stocked in the larger stores is fantastic. I really couldn’t achieve the reach on my own so it’s amazing.’
Best and worst parts of running a business?
‘The most challenging thing for me is trying to keep every aspect of the business going,’ she explains.
‘Not only do I have to make the paté but I have to market it as well and keep up with administration. I also need to try and promote the product to safeguard it for the next 35 years.
‘The best thing about running your own business is seeing people buy your product and enjoying it. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing people talk about what it is you have made and loving it.’
While we keep trying to work out who is behind this delicious product, the lady at the helm now hopes it may long continue.
She said: ‘I really hope that the Mrs Fisken name continues and I know that Mrs Fisken still buys the paté now. That was quite daunting on my first day when the deli told me she had come in to buy some but she liked it!’