The Caterer and Seafish UK are inviting entries for the 2018 Restaurant of the Year competition, following successful wins from Gamba, Glasgow in 2015, The Jetty, Christchurch, Dorset, in 2016 and the Salt Room in Brighton who hold the current title.
Restaurants do not have to have a standalone fish menu or exclusively offer fish and shellfish to be considered. Businesses are asked to focus on examples of excellent customer service, innovative ideas to drive sales of fish and shellfish, and evidence of varied species of fish and shellfish alongside sustainable policies and practices.
The 2017 judging panel included Derek Marshall, chef-owner of Gamba, winner of the 2015 Restaurant of the Year; Alex Aitken, chef-patron of the Jetty, Christchurch, Dorset, winner of the 2016 Restaurant of the Year; Calum Richardson, owner of the Bay Fish and Chips in Aberdeenshire; Giovanna Grossi, AA group area manager; José Souto, chef-lecturer at Westminster College, London and 2017 Catey Foodservice Caterer of the Year Paul Hurren, managing director of Lusso Catering.
z Helalat, owner of the Salt Room and Coal Shed Restaurants, commented: "We were absolutely delighted to win the Seafish Restaurant of the Year trophy in 2017. We pride ourselves on only sourcing seafood from certified and responsible suppliers and the team love coming up with fun and innovative ways to cook and serve this amazing produce. Our seas are full of such a vast array of seafood and shellfish and we continue to educate and delight our customers, providing them with a unique seaside dining experience. Dave Mothersill our head chef is looking forward to being on the judging panel for this year's competition and finding the 2018 winner."
The overall winner and two team members of their choice will be invited on an all-expenses paid study trip to Brixham, Devon, to learn about the catching, processing and supply of seafood from south west England to other parts of the UK and will meet a range of key industry players and experience some of the world's freshest and finest seafood.
The winning restaurant will also receive a bespoke trophy and an individually designed seafood masterclass at Billingsgate Seafood Training School with a guest chef. There will also be a range of other prizes including vouchers to be redeemed against cookery equipment and signed copies of cookery books.
The Restaurant of the Year competition is designed to hunt out the industry's best restaurants serving fish and shellfish and highlight best practice to a wider audience in foodservice.
Seafish, the authority on seafood in the UK, is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) set up to improve efficiency and raise standards across the seafood industry. Funded by a levy on the first sale of seafood products in the UK, including imported seafood, the organisation has a mission to secure a profitable and sustainable future for the UK seafood industry.
Andy Gray, trade marketing manager for Seafish, explained: "As consumers in the UK, we have a tendency to focus our seafood consumption on five main species - salmon, tuna, cod, haddock and prawns - and yet on any one day it is estimated that there is in excess of 100 different species of fish and shellfish available for consumers to purchase and enjoy in the UK; a veritable bounty from the seas.
The deadline for entries is 7 July 2018 and entries can be submitted via www.seafish.org/eating-seafood/seafood-restaurant-of-the-year-competition
Questions regarding the competition can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
The competition is open to all restaurants in the UK, excluding the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, which include fish and shellfish on their menus, and this may well be served alongside meat and special diet dishes on the menu.