Nine fish and chip shops were singled out at yesterday’s FreeFrom Eating Out Awards for hitting the mark when it comes to catering for customers with dietary requirements.
Five shops scooped a gold medal in the Fish & Chip Shops category, sponsored by Middleton Foods - David's Fish and Chips in Brixham, Hirds Family Fisheries in Halifax, Kingfisher Fish & Chips in Plymouth, The Real Food Café in Perthshire, and Vinegar Jones in Cumbria. Something Else Fishy in Dorset, meanwhile, took home silver while Mitch Tonk’s chain of chippies across Devon and Cornwall were awarded bronze.
In addition, David's Fish and Chips, Vinegar Jones and Olley's Fish Experience in South London were all awarded gold in the Creme da la Creme award, a category that could only be entered by outlets that have already won their category in previous years. The Fish Factory in West Sussex also placed, winning silver.
The shops were initially judged on a paperwork entry before judges sent in mystery diners to the shortlist, assessing not just their gluten free fish and chips but also the knowledge and ability of staff to deal with customers with various dietary requirements.
Judges praised David’s Fish and Chips on its extensive gluten free menu, adding: “The menu is interesting and makes you feel included in the same way as any other customer.”
At Olley’s Fish Experience particular attention was given to staff knowledge with judges feeling “they were very informed and aware when introducing the special gluten free menu”. While at Vinegar Jones they were made to feel at ease asking questions with staff even reading out the full ingredients of the batter and offering to show the label too.
The FreeFromEating Out Awards were presented at the Food Matters Live Show at London’s Excel Centre yesterday. The awards are designed to encourage innovation and celebrate excellence in the freefrom food service industry.