The UK’s leading fish and chip shops have taken a special delivery of the nation’s favourite takeaway to Norway as part of an educational study trip.
Representatives from eight shops*, all in the running to be crowned the Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year as part of The National Fish & Chip Awards, visited the port city of Ålesund on the Norwegian west coast to discover the facts surrounding the largest sustainable cod stock in the world.
Organised by the Norwegian Seafood Council, the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trip gave finalists the opportunity to learn about the vital supply chain of Frozen At Sea (FAS) whitefish from Norway to the UK. Stepping aboard the working FAS vessel ‘MS Leinebris’ to uncover the science behind the country’s sustainable fisheries management of cod – one of the most popular fish species used by British chippies – where they witnessed first-hand the entire fishing process; from catch to processing and filleting.
Visiting Klippfisk Akademiet (The Klippfish Academy), they also had the chance to exchange knowledge with a selection of top Norwegian chefs; sharing the background and history of the Great British tradition of fish and chips, while learning traditional Nordic cod recipes including ‘Lutefisk’ and ‘Bacalao’.
Jack-Robert Møller, UK Director of the Norwegian Seafood Council, commented: “Fish & chips continue to be one of the nation’s favourite dishes, with some 382 million portions consumed every year and at a total cost of £1.2 billion. This fascination has helped the UK become the world’s biggest market for both cod and haddock – but only about 10% of the cod we eat is actually caught from UK waters.
“Norway has played a vital role to help satisfy the demand, exporting around 40,000 tonnes of cod and haddock to the UK on a yearly basis. Looking forward to 2017, the Barents Sea quotas for both cod and haddock are strong due to continuous sustainable and scientific management of our Barents Sea fisheries. This means UK fish & chip shops can look forward to a healthy 2017 supply of great quality cod and haddock from the biggest stocks in the world.”
Marcus Coleman, Chief Executive at Seafish, added: “The UK and many of the markets it imports from have taken huge strides in recent years in managing fish stocks, ensuring that Britons can continue to eat fish from sustainable sources.
“Norway is one of the world’s most sustainable fisheries. To witness their management efforts first-hand and learn about where our fish comes from is a great experience for our finalists. However, we wouldn’t be able to offer this trip if it wasn’t for the support of the Norwegian Seafood Council, so I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to them.”
Ben Bartlett, Master Craftsman of the Craft Guild of Chefs and attendee of the study trip, said: “It was a pleasure to represent Seafish and accompany the finalists of The National Fish & Chip Awards.
“A highlight was definitely the trip aboard ‘Leinebris’ the largest long-liner and gil-net hauling vessel in the world. It was a fantastic experience to be on-board and see the catch and preparation of premium fish up to the point of production.
“The passion of the Norwegians, and the professionalism of the skipper and crew, was impressive. The friers met as strangers but returned as great friends – they are a credit to the industry – and Norway is a beautiful country so I would not hesitate in recommending this trip.”
The ten regional winners of the Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award will now put their presentation skills to the test as they face a panel of specialist industry and media judges. Held in London on 25 January 2017, this final judging stage will determine the overall national winner that will be announced at an awards ceremony on 26 January 2017.
The National Fish & Chip Awards are recognised as one of the most prominent and respected seafood industry events in the UK. They celebrate the Great British tradition of fish and chips, showcasing the best talent, quality and choice offered by fish and chip businesses through 13 different award categories.
For further information on The National Fish & Chip Awards or to view the full top 60 and 20 shortlist visit www.fishandchipawards.com or follow @FishnChipAwards.
*Finalists that attended the trip are: Hennighan’s Top Shop in Machynlleth, Powys (Wales); The Dolphin Takeaway in Dungannon, County Tyrone (Northern Ireland); Miller’s Fish and Chips in Haxby, North Yorkshire (North East England); Hodgson’s Chippy in Lancaster, Lancashire (North West England); Burton Road Chippy in Lincoln, Lincolnshire (Eastern England); Henley’s of Wivenhoe in Wivenhoe, Colchester (London & South East England); Godfrey’s Fish and Chips in Harpenden, Hertfordshire (Central & Southern England); and Kingfisher Fish and Chips in Plympton, Plymouth (South & West England)
Austen Dack, Editor of Chippy Chat Magazine was also present.