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Fish and chips

Niveau B1

The Great British Menu - Fish & Chips
Scottish Fish and Chips The Best In town

Think of British Food and the meal that always comes to mind is Fish and Chips. Over 260 million portions are served up each year, by thousands of shops, up and down the UK.

To find the best for this year's coveted 'National Fish and Chip Shop Of The Year' award, industry experts looked beyond just what was served.

“We are looking at in excess of a couple of hundred criteria or factors when we're examining a shop, so it's quite an in-depth study. We're looking at everything from the products, from the raw ingredients, to the finished product, everything in between; staff training, marketing, how a business interacts with its local community: a wide variety of criteria.”

For generations in Britain, Fish and Chips have been part of the staple diet. Eaten best straight from shops, specialising in cooking them.

One celebrity chef believes, as a meal, it stands the test of time.

“I think it's the Nation's no. 1 takeaway, isn't it? Something that... we all have our Fish and Chip story don't we? Whether it's (kind of) walking along a beach somewhere or going home late at night. In that paper, loads of salt and vinegar on top of it, and just getting into it... It's the major comfort food.”

The awards recognised a range of issues, from sustainable fishing, to the top ten regional shops. The finalists in this competition all love the industry they're in.

“The familiar thing, that ran through all of them, was the fact that they have a passion for it. They really care about it...and that is key - you know, they want to know where the produce comes from, they want to know that the chips are really, really good; the customer's not going to be disappointed and more importantly they want to give a variety of fish. Yes, you can get your Cod and your Haddock, 70 – 80% sold that is what people want, but now you can get your Pollack, you can get your Coley, you can get your Plaice, your Monkfish, Scampi and on and on it goes. The world's changing, and so are Chippies (Fish and Chip Shops).”

The eventual winner was The Town End Cafe in the Scottish border town of Biggar. Its owner says it is an honour to win the national award for their food.

“Over the last five or six years we've been there, in the competitions and we've won today so... it means everything to us. It means everything to us and... it's an industry award. We've pledged to do our best to push the industry forward in the next twelve months, so we intend to see that through.”

So for him, making the ideal portion of Fish and Chips is getting everything just right.

“There's no one thing that is the most important thing in the chain, it's a chain and everything's got to be perfect; if not, then the chain is broken and nothing's perfect, so everything's got to be spot on.”

For the staff and suppliers of The Town End Cafe, winning the national award will put them on the map and help promote their business, for being the best at making Britain's no. 1 takeaway food.