The remaining six candidates will now battle it out to become the winner of the prestigious competition, one of 14 categories in the 2019 National Fish & Chip Awards.
Organised by Seafish, the annual National Fish & Chip Awards recognises true excellence in the fish and chip industry. Following several rounds of judging, the Top Six shortlisted friers are:
- Maria Magdalena Ganea, Papas Fish & Chips, Scarborough, North Yorkshire
- Alex Walker, Lows Traditional Fish & Chips, Westhill, Aberdeenshire
- Sam Parry, Top Chippy, Llanrwst, Conwy
- Charlie Collins, Frydales, Leicester, Leicestershire
- Lauren Kellaway, Kellaway's Fish and Chips, Truro, Cornwall
- James Workman, Millers Fish & Chips, Haxby, North Yorkshire
In order to reach the final, the Young Friers underwent an intensive skills based assessment – which included chipping potatoes, making batter and frying fish – followed by a personal interview during a comprehensive judging day at the headquarters of the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) Training School in Leeds.
Marcus Coleman, Chief Executive at Seafish said: “We’re extremely proud of the Top Six candidates, who have showcased their skills and talent at every stage of the judging process. The Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Competition is a stand out category in the National Fish & Chip Awards, and the enthusiasm these young people have shown for their profession is truly admirable. They are the future of the fish and chip industry and we wish them all the very best of luck in the final round and beyond.”
Finalists were also tested on their presentation and marketing skills, with previous winners Leigh Foster, Craig Buckley and current title holder Peter Calvert all on the judging panel.
The final stage of the competition is the mystery shop visit, set to take place in the coming weeks. These Young Fish Friers will be judged on their practical skills within their own working environment before the winner is announced next January.
Kelvin Lee, Managing Director of Drywite Ltd, said: “Standards this year were once again extremely high. Some of these exceptional candidates were so evenly matched that we found it impossible to pick just five, so this year we are in the unusual situation of having a top six”.
Mark Drummond, Head Judge, added: “Judging the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Competition is always an honour. Seeing the skills, knowledge and passion of young people in our industry is so rewarding and it’s good to know the future of the industry is in such good hands.”
The eventual winner of the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Competition will be announced at The National Fish & Chip Awards’ 31st anniversary ceremony in London on 24 January 2019.