Bridlington chippy crowned Britain's best at at the 23rd Annual National Fish and Chip Awards
PUBLISHED: 12:38 02 June 2011 | UPDATED: 19:29 20 February 2013
Our food and drink consultant Annie Stirk meets the East Yorkshire owners behind the best fish and chip shop in Britain
Fish and chips are as much part of the British seaside experience as buckets and spades and sand in your shoes. Golden batter, softly flaking fish and the heady aroma of vinegar on hot chips is the perfect tonic after a breezy blast of ozone on the coast.
Fish & Chips at 149 in Bridlington was crowned the best chippie in Britain at the 23rd Annual National Fish and Chip Awards this year. The shop sits in an unprepossessing parade of shops but attracts queues of people.
Matthew Silk and Tracy Poskitt bought the business as a joint concern just over two years ago and between them have been in the fish and chip trade for 53 years.
Tracys love of fish and chips came from her brother who owned a shop in Selby. At 19 she had already bought her own shop, going on to set up many other successful chippies including the award-winning Pride of Bridlington.
Scarborough-based Matthew began his chippie career at the age of 12, working in a cellar rumbling potatoes and he has also owned several award-winning shops.
Like Tracy, Matthew was brought up with fish and chips in his blood. His grandad worked at the docks in the fish and chip trade and when they spotted an empty shop in Marton Road, with no other takeaways nearby, they thought they could create something special. And they were right.
Tracy says their recipe for success is being able to bring different skills to the business. While Matthew is brilliant at sourcing fish, mostly sustainable, line-caught haddock from Norway, Tracy brings a passion for training. As well as being an assessor for fish frying and customer service qualifications and an inspector for The Seafish Quality Awards, shes also an executive counsellor for the National Fish Fryers Federation.
We spend a lot of time training our staff, says Tracy. Its all very well having good fish and chips but you also need good customer service.
Ultimately its their careful craftsmanship that sets them apart.
The pair spend up to four hours a day preparing food and take great pride in their raw produce: the Maris Piper potatoes are farmed locally and chipped daily; the fish is skinned and boned on the premises; the fishcakes are made each morning on site from sliced potato rather than conventional mash and the peas are soaked overnight to give customers authentic mushy peas.
Tracy reveals her recipe for the perfect batter: Very, very cold water, whisk in lots of air to get it crisp, and use very hot dripping. Then its just flour, water, raising agent and care and consistency.
Winning the title of best fish and chip shop is recognition of years of hard work for Matthew and Tracy. Fish and chips have been a British institution for 150 years and its wonderful to take our place in the proud history of this national dish, says Tracy, who serves up to 4,000 portions of fish and chips a week, 1,000 more than before their win was announced.
Weve been working for many years to reach these heights. She sums it up perfectly: As soon as I battered my first fish I knew I was hooked.
Fish & Chips 149
149 Marton Road, Bridlington
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This takeaway was established in the 1960s and quickly made its mark in Leeds. But Grandma Nash opened up her first shop in Park Lane in Leeds in the 1920s. Nashs is a favourite haunt for celebrities appearing at The Leeds Grand Theatre and Leeds City Varieties. Nashs Fish and Chip restaurant has just been awarded an AA Rosette for the quality of its menu.
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Strensall Fisheries, near York
Fish and chips are an institution in this village. Cars line the street with queues at tea time and early evening eager for the doors to open.
Is there a fish and chip shop that you and your family love? Tell us where it is and why it is so special. Or perhaps homemade fish and chips beat them all. Email email@example.com or leave a comment below