National News release
Issue date: 22 June 2004
FISH AND CHIPS AT THE READY AS BATTLE FOR TOP CHIPPY KICKS OFF
The battle for the best fish and chips in Britain kicks off today (22 June) with the launch of the National Fish & Chip Shop of the Year Competition 2004 by celebrity chef James Martin of Ready Steady Cook and HouseCall.
Customers now have two weeks to vote for their favourite chippy by filling out nomination forms in participating shops.
Organised by the Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish) the awards are now in their 17th year. The most highly sought after accolade in the fish and chip world, the awards aim to recognise the hard work and quality of the industry.
Over 900 fish and chip shops across the country have entered and they all have the chance of being named the best fish and chip shop in their area as well as the best in Britain.
Fish and chips are Britain’s number one take-away with more than 283 million meals sold per year. It is also an excellent source of vitamins and high quality protein with 334 less calories than an average portion of Chicken Tikka Massala, Deep Pan Cheese and Tomato Pizza or Donor Kebab.
Launching the competition at the Seashell Fish restaurant in London, James Martin said: “Fish and chips are definitely my favourite food and every time I go back home to Yorkshire I visit Trenchers in Whitby for a fish supper. They are a natural, wholesome, hearty meal and great as part of a healthy, balanced diet.”
The top 15 shops in 19 regions of the UK who receive the most customer nominations will be visited over a seven week period by mystery judges, who will score them on the quality of their raw products, customer service, working practices, hygiene standards and overall presentation of the shops.
The top fish and chip shop in each of the 19 specified areas will be announced in September and from this listing a further round of in-depth judging will determine the top 10 shops in the country. The grand finale will be held at a London hotel in January 2005 where the overall UK winner will be unveiled.
People have been making fish and chips since the 19th century but James Martin admits it’s hard work to fry the perfect fish. He said; “Apart from good quality fish and batter, it’s important to make sure you are using good oil – in my opinion beef dripping is the best choice. The kind of potatoes is also very important – Maris Pipers or King Edwards are the best.
“Fish and chips are a favourite with many chefs because they are one of the best dishes to have cooked for you. The way you eat them is important too – walking along the beach eating them with your fingers is the only way.”
Andy Gray, Seafish project manager for the awards said: “This competition is well established and has captured the heart of the nation. It’s a fantastic way of recognising the hard work of the fish and chip industry so we are urging everybody to help us find the best chippy in the UK by filling out the nomination forms in their local shops.”
Alison Laing/Alex Orr
T: 0141 353 5131
M: 07879 621139/ 0771 8913299/ 07876 035275/ 07876 035726
Pictures of James Martin with sexy Mermaid Joanne Lawden launching the awards are available from Ken Lennox on 07774 679 174.
History of fish and chips and competition/celebrity quotes/trends and stats available on request.
Notes to editors
• There are over 8,500 shops across the UK selling over 272 million meals annually with a turnover of more than £600 million. The sector employs over 61,000 people.
• The 2003 overall British champion was Finnegans Fish Bar in Bridgend, Wales.
• Cod is the most popular fish sold in fish and chip shops accounting for 61.5% of fish sold, followed by haddock at 25%. Other white fish such as plaice are also popular.
• In the year ending May 2003 more than four times as many meals were sold from fish and chip shops than Indian restaurants.
• Seafish was established by the Government in 1981 and is a non departmental public body. It serves all sectors of the UK seafood industry – fishermen, processors, wholesalers, importers, exporters, seafood farmers, fish friers, caterers and retailers and is also responsible for consumers.
• The Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Competition is sponsored by the Frozen at Sea Fillets Association (FASFA). FASFA is a trade organisation representing trawler owners (from the UK, Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Russia and Greenland) and UK distributers of ‘frozen at sea’ filleted fish.
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