Amy Horsley of Mister C’s, Selby and George Papadamou of Papa’s Fish & Chips, Hull, have been named as two of the UK’s top six fish friers after they were shortlisted for the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Award as part of the 2016 National Fish & Chip Awards, organised by Seafish.
Amy and George will now have to compete at the highest level as they go up against the four other contenders “fishing” for the top prize, including Ryan Hughes of The Crispy Cod, Tonyrefill; James Houlston of Our Plaice, Kidderminster; Andrew Hillier of Harbourside Fish & Chips, Plymouth and Dino Papadamou of Papa’s Fish & Chips, Warrington.
To get to this stage and secure a place in the coveted shortlist, the friers have undergone a gruelling judging process involving telephone interviews and exam questionnaires. They were also subject to a rigorous judging day at the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) Training School in Leeds, Yorkshire.
Their skills were truly put to the test as they demonstrated their preparation and frying techniques before undergoing personal interviews and assessments in front of four separate judging panels.
The six finalists will now receive a mystery judging visit at their respective workplace, combined with another test of their skills and knowledge whilst in their own working environment. This final round of judging will determine the first, second and third winning places which will be announced at the 2016 awards ceremony at The Lancaster London Hotel on 20 January 2016.
Celebrating the best young fish friers across the country, The Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Award encourages the younger generation in the industry to nurture their individual skills and talent to become positive role models for other young people working in the fish and chip sector.
Briar Wilkinson, sales and marketing sirector at Drywite Ltd, said: “We’ve been running this competition for 20 years now and this year the standard of entries has again been exceptionally high.
“The competition was conceived in 1995 by myself and Kelvin Lee in memory of our late father who had been associated with fish frying for over sixty years and always had a passion for encouraging young people to succeed.
“Our goal for the competition was to demonstrate how worthwhile a career in fish frying could be for talented young people in the industry – I’m sure my father would’ve been so proud of the high-standards that have been set due to this award and how it has also inspired the formation of the Young Friers Group.”
NFFF Training and Accreditation Manager and member of the judging panel of this award category, Richard Wardell, added: “The standard of the 10 semi-finalists was yet again very high, with each candidate being a credit to themselves and the fish and chip industry.
“It was great to be able to judge both those individuals who had entered the competition previously along with some new faces. Deciding who progressed to the final stage of the competition was once again a difficult task for the judging panel.”
Paul Williams, chief executive of Seafish, said: “The aim of the National Fish & Chip Awards has always been to showcase the very best fish and chip businesses and individuals in the UK while setting incredibly high standards for the industry to aspire to.
“It’s so important that we recognise upcoming talent and applaud our young people for investing in our industry. This award is such an aspiration and to be shortlisted is a great achievement in itself – it confirms that they have started their careers on the right track and are well on their way to becoming the UK’s next top friers.
“All the finalists have achieved unbelievable results for their age, and this can only be attributed to their unrivalled enthusiasm and talent. A massive congratulations to them all and good luck in the mystery judging round!”
The National Fish & Chip Awards are recognised as one of the most prominent and respected seafood industry events in the UK, widely considered as the ‘Oscars’ of the fish frying industry. They celebrate the great British tradition of fish and chips, recognising the best talent, quality and choice offered by fish and chip businesses.