When we moved to East Sussex in 2001 it was a delight to find the Qualisea fish and chip restaurant, we’d never seen anything quite like it before and over the years we have been there umpteen times writes Stuart Baillie.
It was therefore with great sadness that I read about the death of its founder Michael Cosma.
The news was announced on the restuarant’s Facebook page: “It is with great sadness that we must announce the passing of the man behind the success of the Qualisea,” the announcement read.
When Michael moved to England from Cyprus in 1959 aged just 20 he could not speaking a word of English: “Through hard work and determination he created his small empire. He began running the Qualisea in 1968 on 28 Junction Road, with the help of his wife.
“Due to his incredible work ethic and his passion for fish and chips – he built it up to be a roaring success and became a very prominent figure in the Eastbourne Business community, a town he loved so much.”
The original restaurant made way for the Arndale centre and Qualisea moved to a new location at 9 Pevensey Road.
Mr Cosma’s proudest achievement was that his shop was the first ever fish and chip shop to get a mention in the Egon Ronay Good Food Guide.
In 1992 together with his children he spotted a fantastic location for a fish and chip shop on the corner of Terminus road, which at the time was a Barclays Bank and the Qualisea is still going after all these years, now run by his daughter Katerina and son in law Phil.
Even after he retired from the restaurant, he could still be seen having a coffee most mornings, keeping an eye on everything. He would run into customers everywhere he went and became friends with the majority of them and is still remembered fondly to this day.
“He had the most incredible work ethic and his legacy will live on through the business he created,” the tribute reads.
The announcement of his death has been dozens of message of support for his family as people share their memories.
Ian Marsden says: “My condolences to all of you, Qualisea was and is my favourite chip shop, getting me through uni to hosting an un-planned pre wedding party.”
Hannah Gadd added: “Such a lovely man… bringing so much joy to many people over the years.”
Leave your memories of Michael and of Qualisea in the comment section below.