Cheltenham chippie Simpsons on the hook for award
AWARD-WINNING Cheltenham chippie Simpsons has been nominated for another prize – showing it truly is the plaice to be for top food.
Simpsons Fish and Chips in Prior's Road, Whaddon is through to the regional final of the National Fish and Chip Awards.
If it batters the competition from five other chip shops in the Midlands, then it could hook the national award.
Shop manager James Ritchie said: "We're absolutely delighted but we aren't celebrating yet. At the moment it's the first round, which involves mystery shoppers so we're going to keep consistent in the hopes of progressing to the next round."
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Further appraisals of Simpsons and its regional competitors will now take place until a shortlist of 20 shops is made. Then, the top chippie in each of the 10 areas will be announced in October.
Mr Ritchie said that attention to detail and good old-fashioned service was what kept his shop one of the critics' favourites.
"It's a family run business and we all work together and are extremely passionate and proud about what we do," he said.
"Our fish are from the North Atlantic and cooked in groundnut oil. Most places don't use it because it's more expensive, but it gives a better flavour."
The Cheltenham restaurant and takeaway opened in 2009, and has been going from strength to strength.
As well as selling the traditional chip shop fare wrapped in paper to be taken away, there is a sit-down restaurant with an alcohol licence, and it even sells two beers and a cider made by The Cotswold Brewery in Bourton-on-the Water.
Last year Simpsons won its regional heat and was named the best chippie in England, and it has also been listed by industry magazine Fry as one of the top 50 chip shops in the UK.
The annual awards, organised by industry authority Seafish, aim to recognise the highest talent and standards in shops across the country.
Seafish chief executive, Paul Williams, said: "Every year we see the standard of shops getting higher and higher and this year will be no exception.
"Seafish has been running the awards for 26 years and the calibre of entries demonstrates the battle for the national title will be as fierce as ever.
"The National Fish and Chip Awards have raised the standards of the industry and awareness of the issues surrounding sustainable fishing practices."
Competing against Simpsons in the regional award are chip shops from Stafford, Stourbridge, Sheldon in Birmingham, Warwick and Redditch.