Plymouth fish and chip shop named UK’s No. 1
Kingfisher Fish and Chips in Plymouth has scooped the flagship Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year award at the 2017 Annual National Fish & Chip Awards in London, going one better than its second-place last year.
Kingfisher’s owners Nikki Mutton and Craig Maw have only owned the fish and chip shop for four years but this was the third year that they had entered it into the competition.
To secure the top spot, the chip shop had to progress through a multi-stage judging process over a seven-month period; encompassing mystery shopping assessments and audits by industry experts who reviewed everything from responsible sourcing policies to menu diversification. Customer service levels and the quality of fish and chips being served were also closely scrutinized.
Mutton and Maw said Kingfisher is one of only two fish and chip businesses in the United Kingdom to have a 3-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). The outlet offers more than 12 Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fish species and also uses QR codes to let customers trace the journey of their fish from sea to plate.
Ben Bartlett, master craftsman of the Craft Guild of Chefs and a member of this year’s final judging panel, praised Kingfisher's approach to its craft.
“This year was definitely Kingfisher’s year – they stood out immediately for their extensive knowledge and experience, robust sourcing policies, forward-thinking approach and continual business growth," Bartlett said. "With inspiring passion, they are consistently looking to improve their offering and strive for perfection – making them extremely worthy winners and the perfect ambassadors for the fish and chip industry.”
Organized by Seafish, the awards were initiated in 1988 to raise standards across the industry and to reward individual “chippies” judged to be going that extra bit further. Today, it’s a major social event, attracting considerable media attention.
Participation in the competition is also good for trade. According to Seafish, previous winners have gone on to report sales increases of up to 100 percent.
Today there are approximately 10,500 takeaway fish and chip shops in the United Kingdom, collectively serving around 380 million meals annually and generating annual sales of more than GBP 1 billion (USD 1.3 billion, EUR 1.2 billion). While the number of outlets has fallen significantly since the peak in the late 1920s, when there were about 35,000 chippies, there continues to be plenty of new entrants to the sector, many of whom are bringing a more modern approach.