FISH shop owners James and Bonny Ritchie are proving they are a chip off the old block.
The couple, who run Simpson's Fish and Chip Shop in Priors Road, have just picked up two new awards for their work.
Simpson's Fish & Chips in Cheltenham has been crowned the best fish and chip shop in the Midlands as part of the National Fish & Chip Awards 2013, organised by Seafish, the authority on seafood.
Owner James Ritchie and his wife Bonny Ritchie will now compete against nine of the UK’s best fish and chip shops for the coveted Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award which will be announced at a glitzy evening awards ceremony in London on 24 January 2013 at the prestigious Lancaster London hotel.
The top ten finalists are:
• The Bay Fish & Chips, Stonehaven – best in Scotland
• The Crispy Cod, Tonyrefail – best in Wales
• Pit Stop Fast Food, Kilkeel – best in Northern Ireland
• Quayside, Whitby – best in North East England
• Richardson’s Fish Bar, Fleetwood – best in North West England
• Simpsons Fish & Chips, Cheltenham – best in the Midlands
• Burton Road Fish & Chips, Lincoln – best in Eastern England
• Henley’s of Wivenhoe, Wivenhoe – best in London & South East England
• The Wigmore Fish & Chips, Luton – best in Central & South England
• Hanbury’s, Torquay – best in South West England
The ten finalists are the result of an arduous judging process which included the shops having an unannounced visit from industry judges. Shops were assessed on a variety of judging criteria including: product quality, food preparation procedures, commitment to customer service, staff training and development, marketing and promotional activity and their approach to sustainable sourcing.
James Ritchie, owner of Simpsons expressed his delight at being recognised as the best independent takeaway fish and chip shop in the Midlands and what he regards as an extra special year as his wife Bonny is a month away from giving birth to their first child.
He said: “We are delighted to win the regional title for the Midlands and we really hope we can win the overall national title and be the best in Britain. Simpsons really is a family business and we have put a lot of effort into the awards process.
“Bonny is only a month from giving birth and I can honestly say that 2012 has been a spectacular year and we’re all hoping that January’s final brings more good fortune our way.”
Bonny and James Ritchie are the daughter and son-in-law of Brian and Jan Simpson, who started the chain of fish and chip shops across the UK.
They opened their Cheltenham branch in 2009 and have made a major impact.
Last month, the shop reached the semi-final of a national competition to find the best fish and chip restaurant in the country.
They face competition from nine other semi-finalists before the finalists learn their fate at a gala ceremony in London's Lancaster Hotel on January 24 next year.
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