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Bonny’s Big Adventure in Norway!

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The Seafish National Fish and Chip Awards is fast approaching, and we’ve once again been selected as finalists. As part of the selection process, Bonny was asked to join the fishermen and women of Norway, where she was expected to help out on board. So, on the 21st October, Bonny packed up her winter warmers and journeyed to Ålesund, Norway.

Ålesund is a picturesque shipping town in the Møre og Romsdal county, and has one of the most vital fishing harbours in Norway. With multi­coloured houses lining the shore, and a fascinating local culture to boot, this town is not only a great place to fish, but a fantastic holiday destination.

After Bonny returned from her adventure, we sat down with a cup of tea to discuss her journey, and what she felt she’d learnt from this amazing experience. Here’s what she had to say.

So Bonny, why was this trip so important for you and Simpsons?

It was just an honour to have been selected [as a finalist], but it’s also something everyone else in the family has done. James and my mum have both been to Norway to experience the study trip, so it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

What was the boat you were on like?

The boat, Frøyanes, was huge, and there were so many different levels. At the base of the boat there was an entire processing factory where they skin, de­bone and fillet the fish. There was also a freezer section, where they packaged and prepared the fish ready for market.

What types of fish did you catch?

We caught cod and haddock. In fact, we caught the biggest cod I’ve ever seen,­ it was brilliant!

Was there anything that surprised you during your trip?

Urgh, how sea sick we all were! I definitely recommend taking sea sickness tablets for anyone who is considering a trip on a fishing vessel.

What was the highlight of the trip and why?

For me, it was just really good to see how the fish are caught. It was really exciting to be a part of the action, especially when we reeled in the bigger fish.

Did you get a chance to explore Norway?

Unfortunately, I didn’t see much of Norway. When I first arrived it was 11pm, and the following day I was on board between 8am and 4:30pm, so it was pretty non­-stop. What we could see from the vessel was beautiful, so picturesque.

That night we were treated to a delicious meal at the fantastic restaurant, Klippfiskakademiet (Klippfisk Academy). The restaurant’s incredible chef cooked­ up

some amazing Norwegian food. He also runs the onsite Seafood Academy, which aims to provide young and amateur chefs with the skills to cook great fish dishes.

What do you think the experience has taught you?

Mainly, it has taught me to appreciate how hard the men and women on board the vessels work. I didn’t think it could, but the respect I have for the entire fishing process has increased dramatically. And, in turn, the respect the Norwegian hosts showed us as small business owners was very rewarding.

Phew! Well done Bonny, and welcome back.

Bonny had a great time (well, apart from the sea sickness) and we all couldn’t be happier that Simpsons has reached the finals (once again) of the Seafish National Fish and Chip Awards. To find out more about our recent accolades and nominations, check out our latest blog.

We Really Are Award-Winning!

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Great news, we’ve been nominated as finalists in both the Independent Takeaway and Marketing Innovation categories at the National Fish and Chip Awards 2016.

So, what is the National Fish and Chip Awards?
The National Fish and Chip Awards aim to reward and recognise businesses that offer-up top quality, and responsibly sourced fish and chips. The awards are in their 28th year, and will be organised by the company Seafish, who work hard to ensure all UK seafood is sustainable.

We’ve come so far!
It’s the third time we’ve achieved best in our region, but also the third time we’ve been nominated as finalists in the Independent Takeaway category, and we are so proud of what we’ve all achieved since our doors opened in 2009. It’s incredible to think that out of all of the brilliant fish and chip shops, we’ve been nominated as one of the top ten in the country.

James says, “we’re thrilled to be the best in our region for a third time! Taking part in the awards is a fun part of what we do at Simpsons and definitely keeps us on our toes. This year has been so busy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!”

We’re not going to pretend that this out of the blue, however. We’ve all worked really hard to get where we are today, and that includes gaining MSC certification, becoming SRA members, improving the way we recycle, training up our brilliant staff, providing outdoor catering and developing our very own Simpsons Batter – with all of it achieved just this year!

We’re marketing innovators
The Marketing Innovation award is judged by a number of professionals, who each look at how a business researches, plans and implements a marketing campaign. Fish and chip shops must also prove that the campaign has had a positive impact on the business over the last year.

Our marketing campaign was all about educating local children, because we often found that many weren’t entirely sure where fish and potatoes come from. To help educate the little ones of Cheltenham, we developed a marketing strategy that used fun and creativity to teach them how fish and chips are made. From creating our entertaining book for families to read together, to inviting kids into the shop to create yummy fish cakes, we developed a campaign that got children talking about, and eating more, quality food.

What’s next
The National Fish and Chip Awards 2016 take place on 20th January, and we can’t wait to get our glad rags on! Unfortunately, we can’t invite you all down to London to celebrate with us, but you can support us through Facebook and Twitter. Fingers crossed!

National Seafood Week 2015!

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Seafish is putting fish back on the menu with National Seafood Week 2015. Running from October 9th until October 16th, there will be events all over the UK to celebrate the love of all things fishy.

National Seafood Week 2015 is a fantastic initiative as the aim is to encourage people to eat more seafood, recognise the nutritional value of seafood and to sample a variety of fishy dishes. After all, we all know that seafood is a good healthy choice, but do we eat enough? In today’s fast paced society, cooking can be a time-consuming task and goodfish dishes take time and effort, which is why, here at Simpsons Fish and Chips, we’re doing our own bit for National Seafood Week 2015.

At Simpsons, not only is your fish freshly cooked for you, you can be confident it has been sourced from reputable suppliers and sustained waters for quality you can taste. And, to join in the fun of National Seafood Week 2015, we’re giving customers the chance to share their fish and chip memories.

Tom Herbert, Brian Turner, Adam Henson, Joe Swift and Mark Diacono have already shared their memories with Simpsons Fish & Chips in celebration of Seafood Week. We’re inviting people to include their fond Fish & Chip memories on our memory board, displayed in the shop throughout Seafood Week.

Our very own James Ritchie started the memory board with his tasty recollection and thoughts about the new initiative:

“We wanted to get people thinking about the nostalgia and feel-good factor surrounding the great British tradition of fish and chips. Memories such as eating fish and chips at the seaside, with the family on a cold winter’s night or even at a wedding can make us smile… and our mouths water!

So, our great little memory postcards give Simpsons customers the opportunity to write a memory and share on the Simpsons Fish and Chip Memories Board in-store. We’re really looking forward to inviting the people of Cheltenham to follow in the footsteps of Tom, Brian, Adam, Joe and Mark as the memory board takes shape.”

And don’t forget to take a look at our Twitter and Facebook pages as the best ones will be shared online with the hashtag #fishandchipmemories along with the chance to win a meal for four at Simpsons Fish and Chips. What a great way to create new fish and chip memories!

Want to join in the fun? Come and visit Simpsons Fish and Chips during National Seafood Week 2015 or go online to see all the memories people have shared. And don’t forget, if you join in, you could also win a Simpsons family meal.

 

Let’s get fishy!

 

Our children’s book is making food fun

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Do you know where your fish and chips comes from? We want to make sure that younger Simpsons customers know all about the process behind their fish supper, so we’re launching a brand new children’s book to spread the Simpsons message!

We want to show the journey of fish and chips in our new and colourful children’s book, teaching children about the source of their food and the truth behind where fish and chips come from.

The colourful book, titled ‘Where Do Fish and Chips Come From?’, follows main character ‘Bonny’ (named after our very own Bonny Ritchie) on an adventure meeting the likes of Fisherman Frank and Farmer Fred. Children will be able to explore where their food is sourced from and how it is prepared – all with some colourful illustrations of course!

James thinks it’s really important to educate about where our food comes from. He says: “Teaching children the source of their food is incredibly important to us. Children often see food when it’s in packaging or cooked and ready prepared so we hope our book will show little ones the process. In particular with fish and chips, how little is involved from sea to plate. Just fresh, natural ingredients, simply prepared and cooked.”

“Fish and chips is not as unhealthy as everyone thinks it is, and that is something that we wanted to get across in the book. It should, of course, be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet but it has real nutritional value – especially the way we cook it! The book reflects the steps we take to create healthy fish and chips and our aim is to educate children on sourcing food responsibly and introduce them to the journey that it has to take in order to be enjoyed.”

‘Where Do Fish and Chips Come From?’ will be available from Simpsons Fish and Chips this summer. We’ll be launching the book at the Priors Road shop to school children from St Mary’s C of E Infant School on Wednesday 15 July 2015.

Simpsons Outdoor: Our mobile catering solution

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We’re taking our fish and chips on the road this summer… with our brand new Simpsons Outdoor catering service! If you’re hosting a wedding, christening, birthday party, or any sort of get together, you could be tucking into your Simpsons favourites while you celebrate.

We’ll arrive dressed in classic Simpsons retro uniforms and dish up freshly cooked fish and chips from a street-food style rustic bar. Simpsons Outdoor is an amazingly exciting addition to the Gloucestershire outdoor catering scene, and we can’t wait to cater for some brilliant local events. We can adapt our menu for all dietary requirements, with a minimum guest requirement of 50 people.

James can’t wait to get started with Simpsons Outdoor: “We are incredibly excited to launch our outside catering. 2015 has already been a fantastic year for us as a business and launching outside catering for events seemed like the next logical step for us to take in order to grow. We have already taken a few bookings for weddings and parties which is great and we can’t wait to take more.”

“We are adapting and getting used to using smaller scale fryers than we are used to in the shop but that doesn’t mean less food! We will supply enough food to keep everyone happy; we want our customers to be able to enjoy plenty of bite size portions. Our aim is to provide an informal and relaxed service where people can come and grab their food as they please.”

Our first outing will be at The Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival so make sure you come by and try our tasty fish and chips.

 

Deep fried Creme Eggs… now cooking for Easter!

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We’re putting a Simpsons twist on an Easter classic! You’ve heard of deep fried Mars Bars… but how about Creme Eggs? We’ll be frying up these beauties to order from 27 March. For only £1 you can sample a delight worthy of the Easter bunny, and what’s more, half of all proceeds will go to local charity Wiggly Worm.

We love being experimental at Simpsons and especially enjoy taking a seasonal classic and putting our spin on it. It’s quite an art creating the treat and perfect timing is key – frying the batter so it’s deliciously crispy and lightly warming the egg but ensuring it stays firm. Trust us, they really are yummy!

Order our deep fried Creme Egg as a takeaway or as a restaurant dessert from now until the end of the Easter holidays.

 

Comic Relief at Simpsons

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We’re making a splash for Comic Relief this year with our famous batter! We’ll be dunking BBC Radio Gloucestershire star Claire Carter into a barrel of the good stuff to raise some dough for this great cause.

We’ll be getting up to our elbows in batter outside our restaurant on Priors Road – or, Claire will at least. Our team will also be dressing as jockeys wearing red noses to collect some lovely Red Nose Day donations to help us hit our target.

James says: “For Comic Relief we are really embracing this year’s slogan, Let’s do Something Funny For Money! Having had previous success with a bath full of batter 4 years ago, we wanted to try it again but this time with a celebrity guest. We are absolutely delighted that Claire is helping us support such a worthy cause. We are really looking forward to it but I’m not so sure about Claire!”

Follow the action on Twitter with the hashtag #CartsInBatter on both Simpsons twitter page (@SimpsonsChippy) and Claire Carter’s page (@Claire7Cater).

Regional Winners, National Finalists!

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We are so pleased to announce we have won the Midlands region for the National Fish and Chip Awards Independent Takeaway! We would like to thank our wonderful staff for their hard work and our customers for their ongoing loyalty and support. To get to this stage we have been put through a rigorous, multi-stage judging process undergoing assessments on a wide variety of criteria including product quality, sustainable sourcing policies, marketing initiatives and customer service. We will now face a panel of specialist industry and media judges where we will undergo a presentation and be quizzed on a diverse range of industry related topics before the overall winner is announced at an awards ceremony in London on 20 January 2015. Wish us luck!

Sustainable fishing

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All our fish is sourced responsibly. Not only that but we are now MSC certified, the only fish and chip shop in our county to take this step. Where you see the blue ecolabel, there is a logged trace called the Chain of Custody. This follows the fish right from being caught, processed, sold to us and then sold to you!

It’s official: Simpsons is the best fish and chip shop in England

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Big news – we’ve just been named the best Independent Takeaway Fish & Chip Shop in England!

After coming out on top in England, Simpsons also took a strong 2nd place in the UK-wide competition for Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year award. We were only just pipped to the post, and came close runners-up to Frankie’s Fish & Chips in Brae, Shetland, Scotland.

We’re also proud to win the Field to Fryer Award, award for our passion for potatoes in categories like seasonal selection, storage facilities, preparation, and frying process.

The 2015 National Fish & Chip Awards involved a rigorous judging process, which has taken place over the last few months. This climaxed with a ‘Dragons Den’ style presentation to industry experts including representatives from Seafish, the Potato Council, The Caterer, MSC and the Craft Guild of Chefs and more.

We attended a glamorous award ceremony held at the Lancaster London Hotel, hosted by Radio 2 Presenter, Nigel Barden. The whole Simpson family were there to enjoy the prestigious ceremony, along with members of the Simpsons team.

Our Simpsons Co-Founder James said: “These awards are the Oscars of the fish and chip world and we’re absolutely over the moon to be recognised amongst such great company. The evening was such a fantastic night out and a great chance to ditch the hairnets and headscarves and put on our best clobber – although the signature red lipstick was still firmly in place for the girls!

Each year we strive to better ourselves and bring our customers only the very best, so for us we cannot thank them enough for their continued support – without them we wouldn’t be here!”

Here’s to another great year of frying at the award-winning Simpsons!