A GRAPPENHALL chippy is hoping to batter the competition after being shortlisted for Fish and Chip Shop of the Year.

The Big Blue in Knutsford Road is among six fish bars in the north west that have been recognised by the 'Oscars' of the fish and chip industry.

There are around 15,000 chippies in the UK and, following initial judging, only 60 have made it through to compete for the title in the National Fish and Chip Awards in 10 regions.

Scott Davies, owner of The Big Blue, who works with a team of six said: "We were nominated in 2016 and got into the top 60 in the first year that I took over so it's a fantastic achievement.

"So to be shortlisted again for the second year running is the icing on the cake. It's very much a team effort."

Other north west chippies in the contest, organised by Seafish, include Frydays of Kendal, Flyde Fish Bar in Southport, Seniors in St Annes, Lancashire, The Codfather in Northwich and The Esk Café in Longtown, Cumbria.

Over the coming weeks the shops will be whittled down to a top 20, then top 10 before the final stage of judging in London early next year.

The Fish and Chip Shop of the Year will be announced among 15 award categories at the National Fish and Chip Awards’ 30th anniversary ceremony on January 25.

The competing shops have had their frying skills put to the test as well as being judged against strict criteria, including things like menu development, innovation, sustainable sourcing policies, staff training and marketing.

Scott, 44, from Woolston, added: "We're up against the big boys now battling it out for the top 20. Obviously the bottom line is the quality of the fish and chips.

"What our customers like is that we cook to order so they know what they're getting is fresh."

The Big Blue, which opened six years ago, also offers a wider range of fish than some chippies. Cod is the most popular but the shop sells haddock, lemon sole, plaice, hake, seabass and king prawns.

Marcus Coleman, chief executive at Seafish, said: “This award showcases the best of the best, the fish and chip shops that we all love to eat from.

"The calibre of shops in this year’s top 60 is outstanding – they are a true representation of our industry and sum up perfectly why British fish and chips are, and will always be, the best in the world.

"With 60 shortlisted shops to choose from, why not take a trip to your nearest contender and see how you rate it?”