AN award-winning chippy has been named among the best in the country.

Hooked on the Heath is the only shop in Cheshire listed in the top 40 finalists for Fish and Chip Takeaway of the Year 2024 in the National Fish and Chip Awards.

The Knutsford chippy has scooped countless trade awards but this is the first time it has been shortlisted among Britain’s best.

Owner Craig Buckley, 37, said: “We are over the moon.

“We are honoured to be the only shop in Cheshire that has made it this far.

“These awards are the Oscars of our industry.

“To compete at this level is unbelievable.

“It’s amazing but we know there is a lot of hard work to make it through the next stages.”

The dad-of-three prides himself on maintaining consistent high standards.

“There is no secret weapon,” said Craig, who opened his first chippy when he was 21.

“We have to make sure every area is good all the time, sourcing of products, the best ingredients, the way we cook it, customer service.

“Every little element, we try to do the best we can.”

Knutsford Guardian: Hooked on the HeathHooked on the Heath (Image: Supplied)

Lemon wedges are served with the fish in bespoke, recyclable packaging.

“We get all our fish from Norway and Iceland where conditions are best for cod and haddock to grow,” said Craig.

“We buy frozen at sea fish.

“It is the most expensive premium product that most chefs prefer because all the flavour is locked in within four hours of being caught.”

The chippy opened in 2019 and was a former public loo.

“We designed and planned the shop to be top quality,” said Craig, who works wife Tory and a 16-strong team.

The couple have a son aged five, two-year-old daughter, and baby girl, born just three weeks ago.

“We spent a lot of money buying the best equipment.

“We invested £7,000 in filtering equipment to make sure our oils are nice and clean.”

Judges will visit shortlisted chippies in the coming months as mystery diners to scrutinise every aspect of the business in painstaking detail.

“Our team is brilliant,” said Craig.

“I am mega proud of what we have achieved so far.

“We are constantly working together on schemes to develop our training and make improvements.

“We always go the extra mile.”

Andrew Crook, president of the National Federation of Fish Friers, said: “The calibre of entries for the National Fish and Chip Awards 2024 have been nothing short of fantastic.

“We are proud of all the eateries that clearly put in huge amounts of effort tot be considered for the accolade.

“Fish and Chip Takeaway of the Year is a notoriously difficult category to stand out in.

“However, we’ve selected an exceptional shortlist that showcases the unwavering passion, dedication and excitement that the fish and chip industry brings to British culture.”

The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on February 28.