The finalists are (in alphabetical order):
- Bertie's Restaurant & Bar, Edinburgh
- Lewis's Fish & Grill in Maidstone, Kent
- Toll Bar Chippie in Stoney Middleton, Hope Valley, Derbyshire
Organised by Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, the National Fish & Chip Awards have been inspiring excellence within the UK’s fish and chip sector for over thirty years. The Best Newcomer Award is one of 15 categories up for grabs in 2020. It recognises business owners and operators with less than one year’s experience in the industry, providing an opportunity for new businesses to get valuable feedback which can help them to achieve successful business growth and development.
The top three finalists have beat the competition following a second judging round which whittled down the Top 10 shortlist announced earlier this year. To reach this stage of the competition, the shops were appraised across a variety of judging criteria including innovative approaches to running a new fish and chip shop, promotional activities, and approaches to sustainable and responsible sourcing of key ingredients. The judges also carried out in-depth judging inspections of business premises – assessing both front and back-of-house operations and evaluating product quality and customer service levels.
Marcus Coleman, Chief Executive at Seafish, said: “The future of the fish and chip trade relies just as much on new entrants coming into the industry as it does on the sustained success of established shops. The calibre of entries in this category continues to get stronger every year, which is most encouraging. It’s no easy feat starting a new business, especially in an industry that can be regarded as relatively niche and is already filled with many thriving, long-established businesses.
“Our finalists should be applauded for their successful start in the world of fish and chips – they have taken the challenges and demands that come with a new business in their stride, demonstrating exceptional levels of commitment, talent and dedication. I hope other fish and chip new start-ups are encouraged to follow their lead.”
Andrew Marriott, UK Brand and Marketing Manager for award sponsor Frymax, added: “The future of our industry relies on top-quality, highly-motivated fish and chip businesses, like the three finalists on the shortlist for the Best Newcomer Award. We’re always looking for unique approaches to fish and chips, so it’s really rewarding to be a sponsor of this award category which celebrates the new, talented businesses that are passionately driven and producing great tasting fish and chips for their customers."
The winner of the Best Newcomer Award will be announced at The National Fish & Chip Awards ceremony in London on 23 January 2020.