A YOUNG fish frier from a Chester chippy has been shortlisted for a national award.

James Ellams, a fry cook from the popular Fish and Chips @ Weston Grove, is one of ten hopeful competing in the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year category which is returning to the National Fish and Chip Awards for the first time in three years.

All entrants for the aware are aged under 25 and have a minimum of six months' unsupervised frying experience. The ten finalists, which hail from all over the country, have been chosen by leaders from the fish and chip industry.

The second judging round will be a virtual interview where each candidate will fry fish and chips live in front of the panel and while the cooked product and their knowledge is assessed, they will also be asked set, skills-based questions. The best six will progress to the next stage, which will be a visit to their respective chip shops for further examination of all aspects of their role, to determine who the final three will be.

Chester and District Standard: Fish and Chips @ Weston GroveFish and Chips @ Weston Grove (Image: Google Street View.)

The re-introduction of the award comes after the pandemic put a halt to the in-person proceedings of the judging process. Newcomers to the industry also needed adequate training time to build up their skills.

Award sponsor Kelvin Lee, Managing Director of Drywite Ltd, said: "Although this has been a long time coming, I am very pleased that we have now been able to re-instate the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Award. The calibre of young talent coming through the industry is amazing and the shortlisted group has so much potential to really drive their fish and chip careers forward in the future, it will be a thrill to present the Malcolm Lee Trophy to the winner and for Drywite Ltd to be part of their stories."

Awards organiser and President of the National Federation of Fish Friers Andrew Crook comments: "This award is always one of the top highlights for the judges. The level of understanding and proficiency displayed by these young professionals is a strong indicator of where the industry is heading and it’s full of promise. Being able to encourage and support young fish friers from the first stages of their careers and seeing them flourish is a great privilege."

The Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on February 28, 2024 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London.


Glen Marshall Morrison - Garioch Fish Bar, Inverurie

Jamie Russo - Redcloak Fish Bar, Stonehaven

Imogen Atkinson - Real Food Café, Crianlarich


Lewis Newton - Sandgate Chippie, Penrith


Kieran Bulpit - Linfords Traditional Fish and Chips, Market Deeping


James Ellams - Fish and Chips @ Weston Grove, Chester


Imogen Jones - Jojo’s Fish and Chips, Stafford


Taylor Webster - Fish Kitchen 1854, Maesycwmmer


Georgia Lye - Seafare Fish and Chips, Guildford


Charlie James, Pier Point Bar & Restaurant, Torquay

For more information on the National Fish and Chip Awards, please visit: www.thefishandchipawards.com.