The winners of the much-anticipated National Fish and Chip Awards 2017 have been announced at a glittering ceremony in central London. The guest list read like a Who's Who of the UK's fish restaurant and takeaway industry.
Some 13 prizes were up for grabs ranging from Young Fish Frier of the Year to the Healthy Eating Fish Award. All eyes were on the much-coveted prize for the Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award – the blue-riband accolade that garners unparalleled media attention.
This year the title was awarded to Kingfisher Fish & Chips, Plympton, Devon. Proud owners Nikki Mutton and Craig Maw can now look forward to a wealth of publicity, increased orders and, most importantly, the respect and admiration of their peers.
Last year's winners Simpsons Fish & Chips, Cheltenham, handed over their crown to Kingfisher. James and Bonny Ritchie from Simpsons said: "From the moment we were crowned winners we saw a dramatic increase in business across both our takeaway and restaurant.
"The award has given us real recognition and respect, and has opened many doors we wouldn't even have dreamed were possible."
The 2017 National Fish and Chip Awards winners in full:
Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop: Kingfisher, Chaddlewood Shopping Centre, Plympton, Plymouth
2nd place: Burton Road Chippy,169 Burton Road, Lincoln
3rd place: Millers Fish and Chips, 55 The Village, Haxby
Independent Fish and Chip Restaurant: Harbour Lights, Arwenack Street, Falmouth
Best Mobile Fish and Chip Operator: The Hip Hop Chip Shop, Manchester
Best Multiple Fish and Chip Operator: Rockfish, across Devon
Best Newcomer: Longstands Fish Kitchen, 27 Front Street Tynemouth
Staff Training and Development: John Dory's, across Northern Ireland
From Field to Frier: Krispies, 57 Exeter Road, Exmouth
Young Fish Frier of the Year: George Papadamou from Papa's Fish and Chips
Marketing Innovation: Papa's Fish and Chips, shops in Hull and Scraborough
Best Food Service Operator: fish! & fish! Kitchen, Borough Market, London
The Sustainable Seafood Award: Rockfish, Brixham Fish Market, Brixham
Healthy Eating Fish and Chips: Towngate Fisheries, 56 High Street, Idle
NFFF Quality Award Champion: Fochabers Fish Bar, 19 High Street, Fochabers
A special award for outstanding lifetime achievement was also presented to industry veteran Michael Pili.
The awards took place in the Westminster Park Plaza hotel in London and were hosted by BBC Radio 2's Nigel Barden. A bevy of dignitaries queued up to present the 13 awards, including Norwegian Fisheries Minister Per Sandberg.
Nominees were served a lunch of tuna nicoise followed by cod fillet with rosemary and garlic sauté potatoes with a vanilla and raspberry tart dessert.
Marcus Coleman, chief executive at award sponsors Seafish, said: "The Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award is one of the highest honours a fish and chip business can receive.
"Many of our past winners and finalists have gone on to reap substantial benefits, including increased shop footfall and turnover and media fame through overseas industry study trips; some have even launched their own brandedproducts.
"Receiving this award is the pinnacle of many friers' careers, but only one can take home the title. I wish all contenders the best of luck as they move onto the next stage of judging and look forward to seeing who comes out on top."
Regional nominees for the prestigious Best Independent Takeaway Award were:
Scotland: Fochabers Fish Bar, 19 High Street, Fochabers
Wales: Hennighan's Top Shop, 123 Maengwyn Street, Machynlleth
Northern Ireland: The Dolphin Takeaway, 19 Georges Street, Dungannon
North East England: Millers Fish & Chips, 55 The Village, Haxby
North West England: Hodgson's Chippy, 96 Prospect Street, Lancaster
Midlands: Oldswinford Fish & Chips, 140 Hagley Road, Dudley
Eastern England: Burton Road Chippy, 169 Burton Road, Lincoln
London & South East England: Henley's of Wivenhoe, 9 Vine Parade, Wivenhoe
Central & Southern England: Godfrey's Fish and Chips, 41 High Street, Harpenden
South & West England: Kingfisher Fish and Chips, Chaddlewood Shopping Centre, Plympton