STARCHIP Enterprise in Evesham has been announced as one of the UK’s top three finalists in the Best Mobile Fish and Chip Operator Award category in the 2016 National Fish & Chip Awards, organised by Seafish.

Starchip Enterprise will now compete against fellow contenders – Dodson’s Fresh Catch in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and Tom & Simon’s Kitchen in Bingham, Nottinghamshire - in the race to catch this top accolade.

This is the second year running that Starchip Enterprise, which has been operating for just three and a half years, has reached the last three in this national competition. Last year – the first time it took part – the business came second overall.

The firm’s boss Jeff Warren said: “We are absolutely ecstatic. There were 815 mobile fish and chip operators in the competition this year and the fact that we have been in the top three for two years running shows great consistency.

“We were nominated by our customers. We go the extra mile and spend extra money on locally sourced food as much as possible. We do beautiful specials like steak and kidney pudding and battered faggots. We were on Countryfile this year because they came to the Asparafest when we were there.”

He said one of the reasons they have such loyal customers is because the food is cooked fresh at the van – it’s not pre-cooked – they have state of the art catering equipment, but the most important thing is their reliability.

“We have only missed three shifts due to bad weather since we started. We are out in the villages six nights a week – week after week after week. People can rely on us and we are always there on time,” said Jeff.

The Best Mobile Fish and Chip Operator Award category recognises fish and chip businesses that excel at operating on a mobile basis.

To secure a place as a UK top three finalist, the contenders have been appraised across a wide variety of judging criteria including the policies they have in place regarding the responsible sourcing of raw ingredients, the preparation of products, how levels of customer satisfaction are recorded and responded to and marketing and promotional activity.

Award sponsor Mick Bacon, manager of the Responsible Fishing Scheme, said: “It is extremely encouraging to see how even the smallest of businesses, such as the shortlisted mobile operators, are going the extra mile to promote the responsible sourcing of seafood.

“With fish provenance being such a topical issue, the National Fish & Chip Awards consistently bring this issue to the forefront and recognise those individuals who strive to make a difference - qualities that our Best Mobile Fish and Chip Operator Award finalists uphold. I would like to offer up my congratulations to our three contenders.”

Over the coming weeks, the finalist will be subjected to mystery judging visits from an awards auditor to further ascertain the quality of the fish and chips on offer and the levels of customer service provided by staff.

This final stage of competition judging will determine the overall winner of this award category that will be announced at the awards ceremony to be held at The Lancaster London Hotel in January 2016.