The top ten finalists are:
Frankies Fish & Chips, Shetland – best in Scotland
Hennighans Top Shop, Machynlleth – best in Wales
John Dory’s, Belfast – best in Northern Ireland
Quayside, Whitby – best in North East England
Richardson’s Fish Bar, Fleetwood – best in North West England
Merchants, Stourbridge – best in the Midlands
The Boundary Fish & Chips, Market Deeping – best in Eastern England
Papa’s Barn, Ditton – best in London & South East England
Godfrey’s, Harpenden – best in Central & South England
The Tavi Friar, Tavistock – best in South West England
As guests of the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) the regional winners enjoyed a three day, all-expenses paid study trip to Ålesund in Norway. The finalists learned how Norway manages its sustainable fisheries in harmony with nature. During their trip, the finalists visited the Norwegian long liner, Atlantic, and witnessed first-hand the entire Frozen At Sea (FAS) cod fishing process, from catch, to processing and fileting to complete the FAS process. The finalists then had a guided tour of Sperre, a fishing production plant. The contenders also met the Institute of Marine Research to learn about the science behind Norway’s fishery management.
Jack-Robert Møller, UK Director of the Norwegian Seafood Council, a key sponsor of the award, said that he was delighted the shops were able to take part in the unique experience. He added: “Everyone at the NSC congratulates the finalists of the Independent Takeaway Fish & Chip Shop of the Year award for winning their regional title and we were delighted to invite them on this educational, once in a lifetime trip to Norway to learn more about our sustainable fisheries and the journey their fish takes from catch to fryer.
“As guests of the NSC, we hope that those who attended found the trip enlightening. It is our hope that they become natural ambassadors for us back in the UK, spreading the Norwegian story, sharing the information they learned about the record high cod and haddock stocks in the Barents Sea with colleagues and customers.
“Ultimately the trip objective was to improve the shops knowledge and help grow their business. We wish them all the best of luck for the 2014 final.”
The ten regional winners will travel to London for the 2014 National Fish & Chip Awards, organised by Seafish, the authority on seafood, at the prestigious Lancaster London hotel on 22 January 2013. It will then be announced which fish and chip shop will be crowned Independent Takeaway Fish & Chip Shop of the Year.
The finalists are the result of an arduous judging process which included the shops having an unannounced visit from industry judges. Shops were assessed on a variety of judging criteria including: product quality, food preparation procedures, commitment to customer service, staff training and development, marketing and promotional activity and their approach to sustainable sourcing.
Paul Williams, CEO of the awards organisers Seafish said: “The top ten finalists have already taken part in a tough judging process and therefore, we were extremely pleased that they could enjoy this educational programme as guests of the Norwegian Seafood Council.
“The UK and many of the markets it imports from, such as Norway, have taken huge strides in recent years in managing fish stocks to ensure that customers across the UK can continue to eat fish and chips from sustainable sources.
“The Norwegian trip provides a good example of this with cod and haddock stocks at all-time highs in that region. Fish is a vital source of food across the world so it is only right that the competition winners learn more about where it comes from and what the industry as a whole is doing to ensure that it remains a firm favourite for many generations to come.”