OLDSWINFORD Fish and Chips are about to step out onto the red carpet and discover if they are the best chippy in the country at the ‘Oscars’ of the fish frying industry.

Having cast the net far and wide during a judging trawl of the nation over the past year, The National Fish and Chip Awards are now set to make or break the hearts of friers from around the country as they announce the UK’s best takeaway.

The Hagley Road fish and chip shop gained a ‘plaice’ in the final of the competition – organised by Seafish – following a vigorous judging process and will now have to put their presentation skills to the test in one last round in London this week.

Co-owner Zach Ioannou told the News: “It means the world to us to make it into the final. Especially for a family run-business like ours, it’s pretty remarkable.

“Having unsuccessfully entered the award before, we took on board all the comments and feedback from previous entries and look where we are now.

“We’ve been in business in Stourbridge for almost 40 years and over that time we have built up such a strong and loyal customer base.

“We have many customers who were here in the seventies being served by my mum and dad and they’ve grown up with our family and I think that is what keeps bringing people back time after time – as well as the quality of our food of course!”

Zach and his brother John will now face a specialist panel, be quizzed on a diverse range of industry related topics, and be required to demonstrate how they successfully run a profitable business and plan for future development, before the winner is announced at an awards ceremony on Thursday (January 26).

He said: “I think we are in with a good chance of winning. We believe in our business and I think the judges have been especially impressed with our delivery service as that is something that makes us different from the rest.

“It’s not that we expected to get through each of the judging rounds, but we always thought that we were good enough, and putting so much hard work in to get to the final has made us even more determined to go all the way and win it.”

The National Fish and Chip Awards showcase a diverse range of accolades that cater for every aspect of running a successful fish and chip business, recognising everything from traditional takeaways, to mobile operators and from young fish friers, to excellence in staff training and responsible sourcing.

The flagship ‘Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award’, which sees Oldswinford battle it out with the country’s top ten, is the most hotly contested category with the eventual winner being named the ‘best fish and chip takeaway’ in the UK.

Marcus Coleman, chief executive at Seafish, said: “Fish and chips are a true British icon. It’s our undisputed national dish.

“The crispy battered flakes of fish and piping-hot chips are an inspired combination that has been loved by many generations before us, and will remain at our finger tips for generations to come.

“The fish and chip trade continues to go from strength to strength and it’s only fitting that we celebrate the hard-working, passionate friers behind some of the country’s best fish and chip businesses.

“They proudly uphold the high standards of our industry and help us to reinforce the UK’s reputation as the home of the world’s best fish and chips.”