WORDS Liam Donnelly PHOTOS Cassandra Kovacs

It has long been held as the pinnacle of New Zealand cuisine. The humble fish and chips has played a leading role in the weekly dinner schedule of Kiwi families for generations.

Anton Matthews, owner and founder of FUSH, is no different.

“I love fish and chips, I loved it growing up.” Anton Matthews is a Christchurch local and an entrepreneur who has been making a bit of a name for himself. All thanks to that humble fish and chip dinner.

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Anton, alongside his wife, Jess, bought their first restaurant and bar together in Sumner in 2011, and after a few years they found themselves running another in Wigram. It was in Wigram where they discovered the location for a business venture of their own.

“We sort of felt like there was a bit of a hole, and what should we do? Well we opened FUSH,” Anton puts it simply.

“There was a bit of a mission to try and create something entirely new. We had to come up with something really innovative and really fun, and that’s where FUSH came from.”

Anton and Jess opened FUSH with a vision of bringing the beige-esque, paper- packaged food we know and love into a tastier and fresher dining experience.

“I think we all have memories of fish and chips at home, or at the beach, or the park, or wherever. I’ve always loved fish and chips, they’ve always had a special place in my heart. But there was nothing in my neighbourhood where I felt like I could go and experience what I had in my mind... which was fish and chips taken bloody seriously.”

Thus FUSH was born. Located at The Landing in Wigram Skies, FUSH is a seafood restaurant breathing new life into New Zealand’s iconic meal. A true statement of love and loyalty to Kiwi values and the high quality of New Zealand’s kaimoana (seafood).

“So that’s what we’ve tried to do, we’ve tried to really put our own stamp on it and take it to the next level.”

And that stamp has already been made. FUSH, with the help of the FUSH Waka (a portable food trailer), has taken the Canterbury region by storm with their moreish food, and warm hospitality.

At FUSH, a good meal is provided by the atmosphere and the people you’re with, just as much as the meticulously thought out, sustainably gathered ingredients.

“We love people, we love meeting new people and putting a smile on people’s faces and the best way to do that is through good hospitality, we call it manaakitanga,” says Anton.

In Māori culture, manaakitanga is the way in which you show hospitality towards your guests and it is a central pillar of the business and a true characteristic of the FUSH brand. It’s how a Wigram-based business has taken their food as far as Blenheim and even been a classroom, playing host to free Māori language lessons.

One moment in FUSH is all that is needed to gather a sense of Anton and Jess’ passion to foster good food and hospitality.

In DetailJoshua Brosnahan