It may only be September but the National Fish and Chip Awards have just kicked off in their build up to the 2018 awards ceremony which takes place in London on 26th January. Cromars, St Andrews “Rolls Royce” of Fish & Chip Shops, was Scottish Chip Shop of the Year in 2016, with a UK top 10 finish, and is once again bidding to win the Scottish crown again, and perform well on the national stage.
The National Fish & Chip Shop Awards are now in their 30th year and are organised and staged each year by Seafish.
Cromars will now be subject to a round of secret shopping by the Seafish appointed auditor who will conduct a detailed and in-depth judging audit. This judging stage will determine the overall top shop in each of the ten geographical regions of the competition, that will go on to the National Final.
Cromars has been in business for just over four years, but in this time has already won a number of other accolades including Takeaway of the Year in the Scottish Food Awards, and Best Fife Business in the Independent Retail Business Awards.
“We can’t believe it’s that time of the year already,” said Wendy Frame of Cromars. “Entering these awards is always a real highlight for myself and the whole team, the big one if you like that carries a huge amount of prestige. We are very much hoping to do well this year”
Should Cromars be judged to be one of the eventual Top 10 shops in the UK, in addition to progressing to the national final in London in January 2018, they will be invited to join an expense-paid study trip to Alesund in Norway, organised by the Norwegian Seafood Council.
“It would be fantastic to be a part of this,” said Wendy. ”We will discover and learn all about the catching, processing and supply of frozen at sea fish from Norway to the UK, although at Cromars our policy is always to use fresh fish as we believe that it has a far superior taste and texture for our customers, and ultimately delivers a better end product. We use MSC certified fish at Cromars and are keen to support sustainable fishing.”
Aims of the National Fish and Chip Awards are to recognise and reward businesses producing the very best fish and chips across the UK; to support the wider fish frying trade in their efforts to maintain a share of the takeaway fast food market, and to produce a benchmark for businesses to aspire to.
Fish and chip businesses like Cromars can choose from a variety of different awards categories to enter and are appraised on criteria ranging from sustainable sourcing practices, customer service, hygiene and staff training, and most importantly, the standard of the fish and chips they serve.
Said Wendy: “We have some secret shopping coming up and then if we get through to the next stage and are selected as a national finalist, we have to put together and introduce a special presentation on the business. We have completed this in previous years and it’s a great test. We deliver it to a panel of top judges from across the industry.”
Wendy also paid tribute to the many award winning food businesses in St Andrews at the moment. “The town is a definite foodie mecca, it’s great for the whole area and we do benefit enormously from the cosmopolitan feel St Andrews has with so many visitors and people staying here from all over the world. I think many of the restaurants and artisan suppliers here are aware that we have a real opportunity to shine, but we have to keep standards high.”