THE ROCKFISH restaurant chain has scooped two more national awards for its fish and chips.
The chain, started by renowned chef Mitch Tonks, was crowned the Good Catch Sustainable Seafood Award and Best Multiple Fish and Chip Operator by fishing industry body Seafish in its 2017 National Fish and Chip Awards.
With five restaurants in Devon, including at the fish quay at Brixham, Rockfish was assessed against a wide range of judging criteria, including outlet appearance and facilities, menu development and innovation, supplier relationships, marketing and promotion activity, and staff development and training practices.
The chain of shops and restaurants received the awards at a prestigious ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London, an event widely regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the fish and chip industry.
Jointly sponsored by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), and fish supply brand Norfisk, the Good Catch – The Sustainable Seafood Award recognises businesses that have strong and robust policies and procedures in place regarding the responsible sourcing of fish and shellfish.
Judges appraised how well Rockfish performed at educating and informing customers on the sustainability credentials of seafood, as well as hearing how the shop plans to build on its progress in the coming year.
Awards auditors also undertook mystery dining visits to appraise customer service levels and the quality of fish and chips on offer.
Commenting on the award win after receiving the distinguished trophy from awards host Nigel Barden, voice of food and drink on BBC Radio 2, head of communications Laura Cowan said: ‘Winning both of these awards is absolutely amazing.
‘We are incredibly proud that the ethos at the core of our business has put us at the top of what is an incredibly competitive industry.
‘We are growing, but doing so sustainably, and we cannot wait to share this with our team.
‘Sustainability is something we are passionate about, rather than something we practise to “tick a box”.
‘Our access to and relationships with the local fish markets mean that our fish is landed and served the same day.
‘We work to educate our customers on the sustainability of the industry by varying our menu depending on what is available that day, offering portions from our takeaways once a month with a different, responsibly sourced fish each time.
‘We have optional £1 donations at all of our restaurants, with proceeds going to local community projects and initiatives.
‘It is also our aim to make seafood accessible to everyone and we strive to provide the best for all our customers.’
Marcus Coleman, chief executive at Seafish, commented: ‘The aim of the National Fish and Chip Awards has always been to showcase the very best fish and chip businesses and individuals in the UK while setting incredibly high standards for the rest of the fish and chip industry to aspire to.
‘The Good Catch Award has always been a fundamental category as it represents everything that the awards stand for – ensuring a sustainable future for the fish and chip industry.
‘Not only are Rockfish helping deliver this ambition, they are doing it across multiple establishments.
‘They should be incredibly proud; winning two awards is a fantastic achievement.’
Award co-sponsor George Clark, UK commercial manager at MSC, stated: ‘It’s fantastic to see so many businesses embracing sustainability.
‘Rockfish proved that the sky’s the limit when it comes to giving their customers fully traceable and sustainable fish suppers. I hope that many more fish and chip businesses follow their lead.’
Joint award sponsor Terry Larkin, group general manager at JJ Food Service Limited, added: ‘Rockfish stood out to us as a business that continually strives for excellence.’
Now in their 29th year, the National Fish and Chip Awards are recognised as one of the most prominent and respected seafood industry events in the UK.