The shop scooped the ultimate title - Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year – at the 2017 National Fish & Chip Awards after ‘battering’ off stiff competition from nine other UK regional* winners, all vying to take home the top accolade.
The new UK champions were presented with their award at a prestigious ceremony today at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London.
To secure the top spot, Kingfisher Fish and Chips had to beat the competition whilst progressing through a rigorous, multi-stage judging process over a seven month period; encompassing several mystery shopping assessments and in-depth audits by industry experts, reviewing everything from responsible sourcing policies to menu diversification – and of course, customer service levels and the quality of the fish and chips being served.
The final stage of judging, held the day before the awards ceremony (25 January), put the shop’s presentation skills to the test as they faced a 14-strong specialist industry panel – ‘frying off’ against their fellow finalists in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch.
Commenting on their award win after receiving the famous trophy from awards host, Nigel Barden, voice of food and drink on BBC Radio 2, shop owners Nikki Mutton and Craig Maw said: “We are absolutely elated! We’ve entered this award three times now, coming second last year, so to go all the way is amazing – I guess three really is a charm.
“We’ve only owned the shop for four years and have already achieved some amazing things; we have the world’s most sustainable seafood menu, are one of only two fish and chip businesses in the UK to have a 3 star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association, along with over 25 industry and non-industry awards, but I have to admit that winning this award is the pinnacle of our careers.
“We’ve worked hard to take sustainability to the next level and this is at the core of our business. We’re proud to offer over 12 Marine Stewardship Council certified fish species, but we’ve not stopped there; we even use QR codes to let customers trace the journey of their fish, from sea to place.
“It feels like everything we’ve worked for has come to fruition now. We’re more than ready to take the crown, and look forward to championing our industry and the nation’s favourite takeaway.”
Ben Bartlett, Master Craftsman of the Craft Guild of Chefs, and a member of this year’s final judging panel, commented: “This year was definitely Kingfisher’s year – they stood out immediately for their extensive knowledge and experience, robust sourcing policies, forward-thinking approach, and continual business growth.
“With inspiring passion, they are consistently looking to improve their offering and strive for perfection – making them extremely worthy winners and the perfect ambassadors for the fish and chip industry.”
Marcus Coleman, Chief Executive at Seafish, added: “The aim of the National Fish & Chip Awards has always been to showcase the very best fish and chip businesses and individuals in the UK while setting incredibly high standards for the industry.
“Every year Seafish sees new and more established talent vie for the top title. The judging process is extremely challenging with shops thoroughly being put through their paces, but this year, it was Kingfisher’s boundless enthusiasm and commitment that made them stand out as a clear winner.
“We wish them all the best as they begin their journey as the UK’s top shop, but also thank them for helping us to reinforce the UK’s reputation as the home of the world’s best fish and chips.”
Now in their 29th year, The National Fish & Chip Awards are recognised as one of the most prominent and respected seafood industry events in the UK. They celebrate the British tradition of fish and chips, showcasing the best talent, quality and choice offered by fish and chip businesses through 14 different award categories.
The Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award is one of the highest industry honours to receive as a fish and chip business and previous winners have gone on to great success, reporting sales increases of up to 100%.
*10 finalists, one from each region in the UK, made the final stage of judging. Regions include: Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, North East England, North West England, Midlands, Eastern England, London & South East England, Central & Southern England and South West England.