to retain sustainability and quality in a time when the cost of living is prominent we have to accept that the price of fish and chips will be higher.

My love of Fish & Chips holds no bounds, not only am I incredibly passionate about the national dish, but the way the ingredients are sourced and cooked are of particular interest to me.

I often wonder who discovered the very best way to cook fish & chips is in beef dripping? or discovered that if you blanch the chips in a cooler oil and then fry them off in hot oil it would produce a better flavour?

People in a chippyOur love of fish and chips has taken its toll on our levels of fish in the ocean, constant overfishing of our seas has led to stocks of fish at dangerously low levels and yet our consumption of the national dish continues to flourish, which is why it’s vital that we all pay attention to our we can sustainably enjoy the British classic whilst ensuring we protect our seas.

I was absolutely astonished to learn that only 16 Fish and Chip shops in Yorkshire and the Humber serve MSC certified Fish, astonishingly I’d need to travel 19 miles from my home in Halifax to the nearest MSC Certified Fish and Chip shop, I’d probably pass in excess of 10 Chippies on the way, wow.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organisation on a mission to stop overfishing. For 25 years, they have been working with fisheries, seafood companies and scientists to help protect the oceans around us and safeguard seafood supplies.

The blue MSC ecolabel is the world’s most recognised label for sustainable seafood. It is found on retail products and in restaurants identifying fish and seafood that has been caught in a sustainable way. The blue MSC ecolabel is only awarded to well-managed fisheries that meet the MSC’s independently verified standards for sustainable seafood production

That got me thinking, does MSC certified guarantee quality Fish and Chips? Well, to find out I popped along to Hillycroft Fisheries in Morley near Leeds to give their Fish and Chips a whirl.

Hillycroft Chippy MorleyRule 2 of decent fish and chips (rule 1 been cooked in beef dripping) is that it has to be haddock, for me, it’s a meatier, fuller fish that packs flavour, and that was exactly the case at Hillycroft, a beautifully filleted fish that was surrounded by the crispiest batter that in my opinion was the perfect example of how haddock should be cooked, clearly, I checked with the chief fryer and as suspected it was beef dripping that had been used.

Surrounding my perfectly cooked chips were a small number of scraps that I drenched in malt vinegar, together with a generous amount of chips, these were chips that had clearly gone through stage frying previously quoted and whilst perfectly crispy had not absorbed the fat they had been cooked in.

Of particular satisfaction were the peas, homemade and of perfect consistency, enough pea juice to coat the fish and chips not too much that it made them slushy, every chippy tea needs peas, right?

At £10.15 these were certainly not the cheapest Fish and Chips I’ve eaten, but that’s a sign of the times, to retain sustainability and quality in a time when the cost of living is prominent we have to accept that the prices will be higher, it was reassuring to see a Chippy enjoying a constant stream of customers whilst I was there, proof I guess that Hillycroft is known for quality.

Of course, when prices rise we also start to think about how we can recreate our favourite dish in the comfort of our own home, whilst we may not have the convenience of a fish frying range or a large quantity of beef dripping there are some top tips that MSC have put together on how to create a platinum fish dish at home.

How you can enjoy the nation’s favourite dish sustainably?

Hillycroft Fisheries can be found at Bruntcliffe Lane, Morley, Leeds LS27 9LP