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Fish Friers

Top five young friers shortlisted for 2014 national awards

Article Date: 2013-09-12


Five young promising fish friers have been shortlisted for the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Award category at the 2014 National Fish & Chip Awards, organised by Seafish, the industry authority on seafood. 

The shortlisted five, in no particular order, are:

Tom Hughes from Harbourside Fish & Chips in Plymouth.

Amy Grimwood from Mister C’s in Selby.

Colin McGeoch from The Real Food Café in Tyndrum.

Leigh Foster from Pantrini’s in Tyne & Wear.

Cem Oktem from Packet Bridge Fish & Chips in Carnforth.

The Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Award was founded in 1995 and was initiated by the directors of Drywite Limited, Kelvin Lee and Briar Wilkinson, in memory of their late father Malcolm Lee, who had always encouraged young people to succeed. The award category celebrates and rewards young fish friers across the UK whilst helping to develop their skills and talent. 

To reach this stage of the competition the contestants have taken part in a gruelling judging process. The young contenders had to impress during a challenging telephone interview followed by an intensive day at the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) Training School in Leeds, where the young friers were assessed on food preparation, frying skills, a presentation and a question-and-answer session. The eight judges consisted of Briar Wilkinson and Kelvin Lee, NFFF Vice President and lead judge Mark Drummond, Adviser at Seafish Richard Wardell, Special Projects Adviser Tracy Poskitt, 2006 Young Fish Frier of the Year runner-up, NFFF training tutor and NFFF Executive Councillor for England Rafael Chandler, NFFF training tutor and previous winner Craig Buckley, and 2012 winner Zohaib Hussain.  

The top five finalists will now receive a mystery shop at their workplace, followed by another judging session based on their skills and knowledge whilst in their working environment.

Briar Wilkinson said: “At Drywite we are very passionate about celebrating up-and-coming talent and developing positive role models for our industry who take a lot of pride in the quality of the product and the delivery in which they service it. This year’s candidates have demonstrated the high standards we have come to expect from this sector of the food service industry and therefore we are confident that our fish and chips businesses are in good hands for years to come. We wish them all the best with the awards and their future careers.”

Mark Drummond said: "The judging of the Young Fish Frier competition is always very interesting, as the judges get to see the wealth of knowledge many of the entrants to the competition have about our industry. The standards this year have been higher than ever, with the margin between those who get through and those who do not getting ever smaller. We try to find a new challenge every year for the entrants to keep the competition fresh. This year for the first time, as an additional part of the skills judging day at the NFFF training school in Leeds, all finalists have to make a presentation to the judges about themselves. Picking one winner is always a very challenging process!"

All five will now attend the prestigious awards ceremony in London at the Lancaster London hotel in January 2014, where one will be crowned the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year 2014. 

Seafish CEO Paul Williams said: “The UK’s fish and chip shops are a national institution and these young friers are the future of the fish and chips industry. The attention to detail, understanding of quality and steadfast approach to their trade displayed by the shortlisted finalists is testament to the way that they have begun their career positively, allied with confidence in their own abilities. This year’s competition will be the fiercest yet, as each of the finalists fully deserve to be recognised and given full credit for their achievements so far. They are a credit to the industry.”

The National Fish & Chip Awards recognise the quality, value and choice offered by fish and chip businesses across the UK and rewards those judged to be the cream of the crop. With a variety of award categories, each celebrating different attributes of making great fish and chips, the award ceremony rewards talented individuals across all aspects of the foodservice and fish frying industry.

The NFFF would like to congratulate all five finalists and wishes them the best of luck.





Fish Friers