Frying to be the best


John Dory Traditional Fish and Chips in Belfast has today (Monday 23 September) been named as the winning fish and chip shop for County Antrim, County Down and County Armagh for the Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award, as part of the 2014 National Fish & Chip Awards, organised by Seafish.

John Dory Traditional Fish and Chips will now compete against The Frying Squad in County Londonderry to determine the overall winning shop for Northern Ireland. These two shops will now be assessed by an industry judge, who will make an un-announced shop visit to conduct a detailed and in-depth judging inspection of premises and practices, including the tasting and testing of products. This judging stage will determine the shop that will be proclaimed the best in Northern Ireland and one of the top 10 in the UK that will fight it out for glory at the national final in January.

Competing across 10 UK regions, fish and chip shops batter it out against each other in the hotly contested annual race to bag the ultimate national title. The UK regions are: Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, North East England, North West England, Midlands, Eastern England, London & South East England, Central & South England, and South & West England. A full shortlist of all area top shops can be found at

The awards ceremony will be held at The Lancaster London hotel on 22 January 2014 and will be hosted by Michelin-starred chef and TV personality Jean Christophe Novelli who will announce the overall UK winner.

Competing businesses have to fry at the top of their game if they are to secure the coveted title.  Shops are assessed across a wide variety of criteria, ranging from food quality to customer service, to product sourcing and sustainability practices.

Paul Williams, Chief Executive of Seafish, said: “I would like to congratulate all of the area winners who will now contest for one of the respective 10 regional titles.  Each stage of the judging process for the Independent Takeaway accolade further tests the competing businesses and the un-announced inspections by an industry expert will be no exception.

“Seafish have organised the awards for the past 26 years with the aim of showcasing the very best while setting increasingly high standards for the industry.  This year’s fish and chip shops have continued to rise to the challenge and we hope that they will reap the benefits for their great efforts.”

In early October Seafish will announce the top shop in each of the 10 UK regions for the flagship award. Thereafter, those regional winning shops will also be invited on an exciting study group trip, organised by the Norwegian Seafood Council and visiting the Norwegian port city of Ålesund, where group members will have the chance to discover and learn all about the supply of fish from Norway to the UK.

The overall winner of the Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony to be held at The Lancaster London hotel on 22 January 2014, hosted by Michelin-starred chef and TV personality Jean Christophe Novelli.

Calum Richardson owner of The Bay Fish & Chips, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, and last year’s national winner of the Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award said: “Winning the Independent Takeaway Award was a massive achievement and represented a major milestone for us.

“The turnover of the shop has increased significantly; immediately after winning the UK title, we saw a 100% uplift on the previous year and we’re busier than ever before.

“The National Fish & Chip Awards gives businesses the chance to challenge themselves and recognises the hard work and dedication that goes into everything from customer service and quality, to sustainability and great tasting fish and chips. It helps your business shine and it can really catapult your brand.”

The annual National Fish & Chip Awards recognise the quality and choice offered by fish and chip businesses across the UK and the event organisers are determined to find the best talent and reward those with the highest standards in the fish frying industry.