Published: 12:05, 16 September 2019
| Updated: 16:39, 19 September 2019
A Kent chippie has been named one of the best in the UK.
Battering away the competition, Lewis's Fish & Grill in Maidstone is one of 10 finalists aiming for 'best newcomer' in the National Fish and Chip Awards 2020.
Founded by brothers Gavin and Craig Lewis, the pair bought Big Ben's Fish & Grill in Loose Road last September, and relaunched the business as Lewis's in March.
Gavin, 39, said: "It took us years to save enough to buy a shop, and we had to run it as the old business for a little while to get on our feet."
Since the relaunch, the brothers have tried to use sustainably-caught fish and be more eco-friendly by recycling and cutting down on plastic.
Gavin added: "Since the relaunch we have seen a major improvement in sales and people seem to be responding well to the changes."
The pair also travel to Faroe Islands once a year, as this is where a lot of their fish comes from. They want to show their suppliers where their fish ends up.
Last month, the brothers attended the Fishermen's Festival on the Islands and served thousands of portions.
Both Gavin and Craig are "over the moon" to have made it into the 10 best newcomers.
Gavin said: "We really do try our hardest and this shows it's paying off.
"It's not one thing that makes our fish and chips different but a whole recipe: really hot, clean oil, good quality fish, light, fluffy batter to get really crispy chips, and last but not least, a little pinch of passion."
Lewis's has recently starting doing peri peri fish - "a prime fillet of cod in spicy batter" - which is a customer favourite.
"We really do try our hardest and this shows it's paying off" - Gavin Lewis
"At first, people aren't too sure about it- they like their fish and chips how they like it, but if they give the peri peri a go, they love it", said Gavin.
The competition, run by Seafish UK, is a year-long process, with three or four visits from mystery shoppers and an in-depth application form.
With 15 different categories in total, a business must be less than a year old to qualify for best newcomer.
Lewis's Fish & Grill is the only chippie in Kent to make the list, with others in Yorkshire, Manchester and Edinburgh.
The top three will be announced in the next couple of months and the overall winner will be revealed at an awards ceremony in London on January 23.
More by this authorRebecca Tuffin