Competing across 10 regions, the shops will now ‘batter’ it out as they vie for the ultimate title - Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year – and aim to claim the title of the best fish and chip shop in the UK.
To get to this stage and secure a place in the coveted shortlist, shops have been appraised across a variety of judging criteria including shop appearance, responsible sourcing policies, customer service and staff training policies. They also received mystery shopping assessments by industry experts to ascertain the quality of the fish and chips and the levels of customer service provided by staff.
Over the coming weeks, the shops will be subjected to further mystery judging evaluations and in-depth judging audits. This next stage of the competition will whittle down the top 20 shops to establish the UK top 10 regional winners who will compete for the top accolade at the 2016 awards ceremony.
Paul Williams, Chief Executive of Seafish, said: “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 to aspire to.
“The Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award is one of the highest honours to receive as a fish and chip business. Many of our past winners and finalists have gone on to reap substantial benefits, including international fame through industry trips overseas, increased shop footfall and turnover and even launching their own products.
“It’s great to see so many excellent shops through to this stage of the competition. I’d like to offer up my congratulations and wish them the best as they prepare to continue their quest towards winning a regional title, but also thank them for consistently helping us to reinforce the UK’s reputation as the home of the world’s best fish and chips.”
Culminating in an awards ceremony at The Lancaster London Hotel on 20 January 2016, The National Fish & Chip Awards are recognised as one of the most prominent and respected seafood industry events in the UK. Widely considered as the ‘Oscars’ of the fish frying industry, they celebrate the great British tradition of fish and chips, recognising the best talent, quality and choice offered by fish and chip businesses.
In October, Seafish will announce the top 10 regional winners competing for the flagship award. These shops will then be invited on an all-expense paid study trip to Ålesund, Norway, organised by award sponsor the Norwegian Seafood Council, to witness first-hand why the country is regarded as one of the world’s most sustainable fishing nations.
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 delicious 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 wish all 20 finalists the very best of luck for the next round.”