Shortlisted as part of the awards which are widely considered as the ‘Oscars’ of the fish frying industry, the 20 shops will now compete in the next round of the competition, with the prize being a place in the national final and the opportunity to attain the ultimate accolade - Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year – and lay claim to the title of ‘best fish and chip shop’ in the UK.
Hailing from every part of the country*, the contenders have had to fry at the top of their game as they faced rigorous judging to secure a top spot. To reach this stage they have been appraised by industry experts across a variety of judging criteria, including menu development and innovation, sustainable sourcing policies, staff training processes, and marketing and promotional activities. They also received mystery shopping assessments by industry experts to ascertain customer service levels and the quality of their fish and chips.
Over the coming weeks, shops will be subjected to further mystery shopping assessments and in-depth judging audits. This next stage of the competition will whittle down the line up, establishing the UK top 10 regional winners that will compete for the overall national title to be announced in January 2017 after a seven-month long judging process.
Marcus Coleman, Chief Executive at Seafish, added: “The Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award is one of the highest honours a fish and chip business can receive. Many of our past winners and finalists have gone on to reap substantial benefits, including increased customer footfall and turnover and media fame; some have even launched their own branded products.
“Receiving this award is the pinnacle of many friers’ careers, but only one can take home the eventual overall national title. Before then, I would like to offer up my congratulations to the shortlisted businesses and wish them the best of luck as they battle for the regional titles.”
Joint award sponsor Jack-Robert Møller, UK Director of the Norwegian Seafood Council, said: “We would like to offer a huge congratulations to the top 20 shops in the running for this prestigious award.
“In Norway, we’re proud to supply our deliciously sustainable Frozen At Sea cod and haddock sourced from the cold, clear waters of the Barents Sea to UK fish and chip shops. Each year we look forward to sponsoring the awards because it’s our chance to meet likeminded people who are equally passionate about our industry and who can share our enjoyment of high quality, sustainable fish.
“We’re also looking forward to hosting our annual all-expenses paid study trip to Ålesund, Norway with the top 10 fish and chip shops. Inviting them to our homeland, they will be able to witness first-hand why the country is regarded as one of the world’s most sustainable fishing nations.”
Culminating in an awards ceremony in London on 26 January 2017, The National Fish & Chip Awards are recognised as one of the most prominent and respected seafood industry events in the UK. They celebrate the Great British tradition of fish and chips, showcasing the best talent, quality and choice offered by fish and chip businesses through 13 different award categories.
For further information on The National Fish & Chip Awards or to view the full top 60 shortlist visit www.fishandchipawards.com. Follow @FishnChipAwards on Twitter for all the awards news and information.
*Shops compete across 10 judging regions: Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, North East England, North West England, Midlands, Eastern England, London & South East England, Central & Southern England and South West England.