The Fish Works in Largs, North Ayrshire and Quayside Restaurant & Fish Bar in Gourdon, Aberdeenshire have both been shortlisted as semi-finalists for the Best Newcomer Award, as part of the 30th anniversary National Fish & Chip Awards.
One of 15 categories in the 2018 National Fish & Chip Awards, they will now ‘fry’ for a place in the final and the chance to clinch the title of UK’s best new fish and chip shop against fellow contenders from all across England.
As part of a strenuous judging process, both shops, along with the other eight semi-finalists, have been judged on a variety of criteria such as the best adoption of innovative approaches to running a new fish and chip shop, and knowledge and understanding of sustainable and responsible sourcing.
They will now face unannounced visits from the judging team over the coming weeks and undergo assessment from mystery diners, who will evaluate both the quality of the fish and chips on offer and the levels of customer service provided.
Three of the ten will then be chosen as finalists to compete for the overall national title, which will be presented at the 30th anniversary awards ceremony.
Marcus Coleman, chief executive at Seafish, who organise the awards, said: “Fish and chips first captured the hearts of Brits in the 19th century and ever since we’ve been flocking to shop counters all around the country for our portions of crispy, battered fish and fluffy chips.
"With such a long-standing history, many of today’s fish and chip shops have been established for decades and passed down over generations of families.
“Opening a new fish and chip shop can be a daunting experience for this reason, but our top ten have certainly risen to the challenge. Not only have they proven that they can rustle up the perfect portion of fish and chips, they’ve demonstrated fantastic knowledge and understanding of the wider industry.
"I’m certain the future of our nation’s favourite takeaway is in good hands, and in no doubt that these ten outstanding shops will be integral businesses within their local communities for years to come.”
The Best Newcomer Award, which is sponsored by Frymax, the leading all-vegetable frying fat for the fish and chip trade, is open to independent fish and chip businesses that have been operating since no earlier than 1 May 2015.
Andrew Marriott, UK brand and marketing manager for Frymax, added: “The future of our trade relies on top quality and highly motivated fish and chip businesses that are a credit to the industry.
"This year’s top five all bring innovative concepts and new ideas to the fish and chip trade - each would be a worthy winner.
“The most enjoyable aspect of our involvement is to see new talented and passionate individuals who are passionately producing great tasting fish and chips for their customers.
"We wish all the finalists the best of luck in the next round of judging and hope they will enjoy many years of success in our trade."
The national winner of the Best Newcomer Award will be announced at The National Fish & Chip Awards ceremony in London on 25 January 2018.