Representatives from five of the UK’s leading fish and chip restaurants have returned from an exclusive trip to North East Scotland, as part of the 30th anniversary National Fish & Chip Awards
Organised by Seafish, the educational trip gave the five businesses – all finalists for the Fish and Chip Restaurant of the Year Award* - the opportunity to have a closer look at the inner workings of Europe’s whitefish capital.
The finalists enjoyed a two-day trip to Peterhead – home to Europe’s leading whitefish fishing port – and Aberdeen, to learn about the vital supply chain of haddock and cod for the fish frying industry and the wider UK food sector.
Marcus Coleman, Chief Executive at Seafish, comments: “Peterhead is one of the UK’s busiest fishing ports and is at the forefront of the Scottish fishing industry – with cod and haddock catches landed in Peterhead in 2016 totaling 28,500 tonnes, representing 35% of UK landings.
“The focus of the trip was to highlight the wide range of seafood on offer from North East Scotland, encouraging menu diversification and the use of different species in fish and chip shops across the UK. Crucially, the trip also emphasised the socio-economic importance of Peterhead port and the wider impact it has on the overall UK seafood industry.
“With fish provenance high on the agenda it’s important that our finalists have a strong understanding of responsible and traceable sourcing, and know exactly what it takes to get fresh fish from ‘sea to plate’. This study trip ticks all of those boxes.”
Starting the trip with an early morning visit to the lively fish market, the finalists explored the daily routine of Europe’s whitefish capital while also learning about the sustainable fisheries management practices followed by the Scottish fishing fleet – advancing their knowledge of the whole fishing and supply process.
With much of the UK’s primary processing of seafood located in the North East of Scotland, the finalists also visited the Sustainable Seafoods Limited processing unit in Peterhead and the Nolan Seafoods Limited processing facility in Aberdeen. The group observed first-hand how traditional skills are married together with modern technology and equipment, discovering how the future of the fish processing trade is evolving.
The North East Scottish whitefish sector has grown over time, creating a clever blend of production systems, offering high quality product from both hand-crafted and mass manufactured methods. Processors have made consistent investments in staff training; retaining traditional, highly-skilled hand filleting, whilst embracing innovative technologies offered by state of the art equipment, to produce a highly graded, top quality, fresh, skinless and boneless fillets to match the increasingly specialised needs of today’s restaurants, chefs and consumers.
The study trip provided an opportunity to highlight these processes and for leading businesses within the fish and chip restaurant sector to witness it in action first-hand.
The winner of the Fish and Chip Restaurant of the Year Award will be announced at the 30th anniversary National Fish & Chip Awards ceremony in London on 25th January 2018.