After competing with more than 10,000 rivals across the country, and having come second twice in previous years, Simpsons Fish and Chips was named the best in the 2016 National Fish and Chip awards.
"Food has featured in most of my career, although not in my education. When I was 15 I started working for Pizza Hut, as well as attending college. My passion was being creative, so I went on to study Fine Art and that's where I met my (now) wife, Bonny.
At the time Bonny was working for her parent's fishand chip shop, so with my experience in food service and my knowledge of food hygiene and customer service, I followed suit and started working there too.
After graduating university, rather than pursue degree related careers, we decided to stick to what we knew and used the skills and practices honed in Bonny's parent's shop, to open a new fish and chip business together. Having hands on experience and knowledge of how a fish and chip business operates, we were determined to be our own bosses and make our new venture work. Although it might not seem a natural fit, my degree has been beneficial to this role as it has enabled me to create a really strong brand for our shop.
James and Bonny of Simpson's Chippy - Cheltenham
Ithink the real perks to the industry are getting to meet new people and receiving recognition for what we do. It has been very rewarding for us personally to set-up and run a successful and well-known business. Travel is also a real perk; I've been to Norway, visited fishing ports, potato farms, factories, other fish and chip shops and attended industry events.
I believe you need to have passion to be successful in the fishand chip trade as it's not the easiest industry to be a part of and you have to actually care to succeed. Saying that, I love being my own boss as it gives me flexibility which enables me to spend a reasonable amount of time with my young family. I'm paid enough to get by but I hope this will increase as the business grows further; we're still fairly new, so heavily re-investing a lot of the money we make.
I am a strong ambassador for our trade which keeps me very busy. Simpsons are trying to be at the forefront of the industry and I aim to always do a good job representing the industry as a whole alongside the British icon - fish and chips."