A FISH and chip shop at the end of Southend’s world famous pier has wasted no time in making waves in the seafood industry by being shortlisted for a prestigious award...just months after opening.

Southend Pier Fish and Chips opened in April after a 14-year absence following a fire on the pier which destroyed the previous shop.

Owner Darren Lattimer was thrilled with the good news.

He said: “I am very excited and really pleasantly surprised. We put ourselves forward after registering with the association. I think a mystery shopper comes down and that’s how the shortlist is put together.

“It’s great that someone has taken the time to look at what we are doing. It’s all exciting stuff and I’m looking forward to finding out the results.”

The awards, organised by Seafish, showcase excellence in fish and chip businesses across the country.

The Best Newcomer award recognises business owners and operators with less than one year’s experience in the industry and those who have switched career from other business sectors.

After the judges make their final mystery dining assessments, a final shortlist is drawn up to determine the top three before the national champion is announced at the National Fish and Chip Awards ceremony held in London in January.

Mr Lattimer, from Benfleet, added: “Business is very weather-driven based on where we are at the end of the pier.

“We are 1.33 miles out on the Thames Estuary.

“On our sunny days though, we get thousands of visitors and we do our best to drive people down here.

“We have had a lot of good feedback and people pleased to be able to get fish and chips down the pier again after 14 years, since the pier fire.”

Ten fish and chip businesses have been shortlisted for the Best Newcomer Award, all of which have been trading for a year or less.

However, Southend Pier Fish and Chips appear to have battered their county competitors by being the only fish and chip shop from Essex to have gained a place on the coveted shortlist for the award.

Southend Pier Fish and Chips and Lewis’s Fish and Grill, in Maidstone, Kent, were the only shops in the whole of the southern region to have made the list.

Other shops to have made the cut came from areas including Scotland, Wales, and Greater Manchester, Yorkshire and Cheshire.