IT’S a hard job – but somebody’s got to do it. That’s what we told chef Wayne Rodgers as, armed with nothing but his taste buds, we sent him out into the city to judge The Star’s Best Chippy competition.
Dozens of nominations and hundreds of votes have poured in since we launched the competition in February, and we’ve finally narrowed it down the final six which received the highest number of votes. Now it is the job of Wayne, 37-year-old head chef of The Inn at Troway, to make the final decision.
As a local lad, he’s certainly no stranger to the institution that is a good old British fish and chip shop and, with years of experience in the food industry under his belt, he’s more than qualified.
We took him round the six finalists to cast his professional eye over the very best that Sheffield has to offer and sample their fish and chips...
CASTLE CHIPPY, CASTLE MARKET
Wayne’s verdict: “The fish was good and, though I would have preferred a little more batter, it was nice and crispy. There were good flavours and the peas were well-seasoned. Good chips, I’d be very happy with this meal.”
Owner Bruce Payne said: “I’m utterly shell-shocked to have made it this far. It’s such a massive compliment from the customers and I’m very happy.”
Customer George Warris, of Halfway, said: “Chips brown but tasty – could eat without salt and vinegar. Cod surrounded with tasty batter that is not brittle.”
ROB’S FISH & CHIPS, GREENHILL ROAD, GREENHILL.
Wayne’s verdict: “I got a good feeling just coming in here because it’s a very traditional fish and chip shop, right down to the impressive mural on the wall.
“The food is great, very similar to Castle Chippy, I can tell both shops come from the same family. The peas are well seasoned, thin but crisp batter, lovely white fish and good solid chips.”
Owner Rob Pearce said: “All six finalists are well-established shops and, as I’ve only been here 15 months, I’m so proud to be among them. It’s really nice that people have taken the time to vote for us.”
Customer Elizabeth Lydon, of Greenhill, said: “Friendly service, freshly cooked tasty food, good value, good variety and all the staff who work there are lovely.”
ARUNDEL ROAD FISHERIES. CHAPELTOWN
Wayne’s verdict: “This is excellent – great fish, great batter, great chips, lovely. I have no complaints. Beautiful mushy peas and well-seasoned. This is a real contender.”
Owner Rebecca Stuchbury said: “I’m just honoured we’ve been nominated and so grateful to the locals who’ve been coming in and telling us they’ve voted for us.”
Customer Margaret Last, of Chapeltown, said: “Fresh fish, cooked superbly, great chips and peas to die for.”
COTTAGE FISH BAR, HIGH STREET, ECCLESFIELD
Wayne’s verdict: “Great chips, very nice mushy peas, a nice meal. This isn’t my favourite fish and, ultimately, I would say the fish is the biggest part for me, but it’s still very good.
“I think the standard is just so high among these six.”
Owners Liam and Lou Denn said: “It feels great to have made it to the final six. This is a small village but they’ve really taken us in and we’re very proud to think we’re doing something right.”
Customer Edwina Willians, of Ecclesfield, said: “Great staff, friendly atmosphere and extremely good food.”
PETE’S CHIPPY, MAIN STREET, GRENOSIDE
Wayne’s verdict: “This is very good food. The fish is great, lovely and white with perfect batter, great chips, great seasoning and lovely peas – the whole package.”
Owner Claire Benson said: “I was so shocked when people told me we’d been nominated and I’m so grateful to everyone who voted.”
Customer Christine Bamforth, of Grenoside, said: “I have never tasted any chips that are so sweet as Pete’s Chippy. Also, the fishcakes are out of this world, they are prepared to the finest spec.”
TONY’S FISH & CHIPS, CHAPEL STREET, MOSBOROUGH
Wayne’s verdict: “This fish is fantastic, definitely one of the best we’ve had – great batter, crispy and thick – wow. Peas are good, but not quite as good as some of the others. Good chunky chips too, but that fish...beautiful.”
Owners Rob and Helena Hatt said: “We pride ourselves on everything being traditional and we’ve got a secret recipe for the batter that we’ve used for 10 years. “Thanks so much to everyone who voted. Being in the top six is really great news.”
Customer Susan Twigg, of Intake, said: “It is always cooked to perfection and beautiful white fish in the best batter ever tasted.”
“The standard of the final six has been excellent,” said Wayne. “It just goes to show that the Sheffield public really know what they’re talking about. There were some places that had better elements than others, but on the whole, top-notch.”
So what’s the verdict?
Wayne added: “The competition was unbelievably tight. For me it came down to three – and two in particular – that were close.”
Buy The Star tomorrow to find out who has been crowned the Best Chippy in South Yorkshire