The Bay Fish and Chips will go head-to-head with three other finalists from across the UK at The Cateys awards ceremony in November.
Through to the final of the Sustainable Business Award category, The Bay Fish and Chips will have to wait until November 24 to find out whether they’ve beaten three other finalists from across the UK to win the accolade.
The Stonehaven-based eatery is the only Scottish hospitality business in the north to have made it through to the final in any category, with The Real Food Cafe in Perthshire and several other chefs and businesses in Edinburgh and Glasgow also reaching the finals, including Tom Kitchin.
Having applied for the award several times before but to no avail, chef and director of The Bay Fish and Chips Calum Richardson says he is delighted to have been successful this time.
Calum said: “We’ve never been nominated at The Cateys before, though I’ve tried to be nominated in it for six or seven years.
“For me, The Caterer awards are really the Oscars of the food industry. But my goal has always been to get into the final because I’ve always believed that if I mixed outwith my own sector – fish and chips – you can actually gain quite a lot from it, both in a personal and business sense. I also want to put fish and chips in a positive light.
“To get to the final is all I ever really wanted but now I’m there, I want to win it.”
The Cateys are self-nominate awards, meaning that Calum had to go through a rigorous application process to get the business’ name in front of the judges.
Calum says: “You have to apply for them yourself. So the application went in at the start of the year – it’s a pretty rigorous application where you have to state everything that you do and then it goes in front of a panel of judges and they do their own investigating and then come to a decision on who should be shortlisted.
“I’ve applied for the sustainable business award and the food service category before because I supply Compass Group with produce so I fell into that category, but you’re competing against some seriously big players.
“It’s recognition for what we do day in, day out all the time. It’s not just a whim and I don’t do things just to win awards, we do things because it’s what we believe in and what we think is right. Sometimes that puts us ahead of the times and people don’t understand, and sometimes it’s the right thing to do.
The sustainable business award category is well-suited to Calum’s eatery, which goes through consistent efforts to ensure every part of the business, from the produce to the electricity and gas it uses, is as sustainable and environmentally friendly as it can be.
Calum says: “We look at every product coming in and every product going out. That’s everything from the 100% renewable energy that we use, gas and electric, we look at ways in which we can make things into compost, we turn our oil into biodiesel, and we’ve just purchased an 100% electric car, meaning we are 100% zero emissions as well. So we’re always trying to move forward.
“Being sustainable can save you a lot of money in a lot of ways but some things are more expensive, like energy, but it’s about doing what you feel is right. When being sustainable, where you spend more in some areas, you’re saving a lot in other areas. You look more into the depth of everything.
“I built this business from scratch about 14 years ago and have continued building upon it ever since. I was in the navy for 10 years as an engineer – I wanted to be a chef but they threw me in as an engineer. In the latter part of my time in the navy I spent half the time in the galley, then when I came out I managed a shop and then I purchased what was The Haven in Stonehaven and turned it into the Carron Fish Bar. I had that for six years, then I sold it and built The Bay.
“The ethos behind The Bay is that it really is truly sustainable produce and it’s looking at the future of the industry and supporting local – that’s a big thing for us, local support. Around 90% of our produce comes from within a 50-mile radius of the shop. We also believe in what we do and we try to be transparent to customers so they can believe in what we do as well.”