High frying award for Barnstaple chippy

Joseph Bulmer

THE Whiddon Valley Fryer in Barnstaple has joined the UK fish frying elite by scooping the prestigious Fish and Chip Quality Award.

It is one of the first shops in England and the first in the South to receive the new award and the first shop in the region to achieve the higher standards that the award represents.

The Fryer also has a five-star environmental health award under the district council ‘scores on the doors’ scheme.

It is a tremendous start for owners Bruce and Cheryl Dimelow, who only took over the business from Bruce’s brother and sister-in-law Mark and Alison Dimelow last autumn.

The National Federation of Fish Friers, the trade body that represents the nation’s fish and chip shops, runs the award scheme as a way of raising standards in the fish and chip trade and enhancing the profile of the industry. It is a way of rewarding and promoting shops that provide good quality products and high standards of hygiene, as well as friers who show a high level of competence.

Each shop has to go through an inspection by an NFFF approved assessor, who looks at the shop’s presentation, hygiene and cleanliness, staff training, equipment, frying and sales skills and the quality of the cooked product.

Bruce and Cheryl are helped in their venture by their daughter Heather Brookes, who holds a hospitality degree and food hygiene and health and safety certificates and by staff members who all also have food hygiene certificates.

They are introducing new, environmentally-friendly, packaging that is biodegradable or compostable and are liaising with North Devon District Council on its recycling.

This costs a little more, but is worth it from an environmental point of view, and this is not being passed on to customers, says Bruce. They are still selling their fish and chips at under �5.

A new website www.thewhiddonvalleyfryer.co.uk is being launched this week with special offers for those who sign in.