A FISHMONGER has been recognised as one of the country’s best producers in awards judged by Michel Roux Junior and the Hairy Bikers.

The Fresh Fish Shop in Haywards Heath scooped a regional award for London and the South East in the Great British Food Awards 2020.

The business, which has been in the town for more than 30 years, aims to provide sustainably caught fish and wants to promote Sussex seafood, and has also supported charities to make sure food is not wasted.

It has started to sell fresh fish on the wholesale market to retailers across the country.

Owner Sebastian Candelon said: “This has been a tough year for British food and drink producers and retailers, so we are really thrilled to receive this fiercely contested accolade.

“Like many others, we’ve had to quickly adapt our business during the pandemic, launching an e-commerce store and home delivery option, and expanding our premises to accommodate social distancing measures and to meet the increase in demand for fresh fish.

“We have recruited a ‘night team’ of highly skilled local people, many of whom had found themselves out of work during lockdown, so that we could work around the clock to deliver fresh fish to our local

community and to our customers nationwide when they needed it most.

“It really is testament to the whole team’s hard work that we have won this award – they thoroughly deserve it.

“Despite the challenges we have faced, our commitment to sourcing sustainable seafood remains steadfast and we’re delighted to have welcomed a number of new wholesale customers on board this year who share our values, including Planet Organic, the UK’s largest fully certified organic supermarket, with stores across London.”

Mr Candelon is an accredited Master Fishmonger, showcasing Sussex fishermen and a commitment to the best quality, standards and sustainability in the industry.

The contest was judged by celebrity chefs, critics and food writers and included influential food purchasers such as Booths supermarket.

The Fresh Fish Shop is also working with UKHarvest, a not-for-profit perishable food rescue operation and education charity.

Mr Candelon added: “We know a lot of people are finding life particularly tough at the moment, which is why our partnership with UKHarvest is vital now, more than ever, helping to reduce food waste and redistribute quality surplus food to those who need it most.

“We’re proud to have donated over a quarter of a tonne of fish, which UKHarvest has redistributed to charities – women’s and men’s refuges and youth centres – so that people in need can receive food relief.”

The Great British Food Awards 2020 include 100 category winners, with finalists judged for being the best in each class.

The full list of award winners will be published in the Christmas issue of Great British Food.