The stage is set to celebrate the unsung heroes behind every scrumptious bite of Britain's beloved fish and chips. Ten stellar establishments have risen, battering away fierce competition to secure their spots in the prestigious 'From Field to Frier' National Fish and Chip Awards 2024 category.
These top-tier chippies across the UK have flaunted their finesse, turning humble potatoes into golden treasures. It's been a journey of dedication, from understanding potatoes' intricate nature to mastering the fryer's alchemy. Not one to be settled lightly, an esteemed panel of industry judges diligently debated, narrowing down a nation of entries to this commendable top 10.
Driving the spirit of this category is the generous sponsorship of Isle of Ely Produce, a key player responsible for a mammoth supply of over two million bags of potatoes to the fish and chip industry yearly. This year, they're joined by award partner Agrico variety Babylon, a recent entrant stealing the limelight at fish and chip shops with its smashing success in trials over the past two years.
In the words of Andrew Crook, president of the National Federation of Fish Friers and organiser of the awards, “We can all relate to the joyous moment of taking that first bite of a chip fresh from the frier. The amount of skill it takes to get the perfect balance of textures, uniform colour and moreish flavour shouldn’t be underestimated. The Field to Frier Award is a fantastic opportunity for us to congratulate businesses for being at the top of their game.
Adding to the excitement, Alex Moore, sales manager for Agrico, remarked, “We have been working with Isle of Ely and Chippy Chat to champion best practices regarding new varieties. Babylon is one variety which has already tested well in chippies across the UK. We are thrilled to be a co-sponsor of the Field to Frier Award at the 2024 National Fish and Chip Awards and wish the ten listed shops the best of luck. We also look forward to working with the shops and sending them some Babylon to trial.”
Underlining the importance of continuous learning, Isle of Ely Director Oliver Boutwood stated, “This award is crucial for us to help educate shops on the basics of how to get the most from their potato supplies. Knowing about which varieties suit them best (this changes by geographic area), how to store and treat the potatoes and also making the best chips from what is available at any given time will help us all to serve great chips every time.”
Here are the dazzling top 10 who've chipped their way to the forefront:
- Scotland: The Fish Works, Largs
- County Durham: Bells Fish and Chips, Durham
- Tyne & Wear: Pantrini’s, Whitley Bay
- Yorkshire: The Fish Bank, Sherburn-in-Elmet
- Herefordshire: Fiddlers Elbow Fish & Chips, Leintwardine
- Wales: Finney’s Fish and Chips, Anglesey; Shipdeck, Caerphilly
- Essex: Henley’s of Wivenhoe, Wivenhoe
- Kent: Newington Fish Bar, Ramsgate
- Devon: Pier Point, Torquay
The competition remains a sizzling affair, with further judging rounds poised to trim the shortlist to five and, subsequently, the elite final three. Mark your calendars for the grand revelation of the category victor, slated for 28 February at the awards ceremony hosted at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London.