Ely businessman John Boutwood is no small fry as he nets top fish and chip industry award

The National Fish & Chips Awards 2016 at the Lancaster London Hotel.John Boutwood receives the Award

The National Fish & Chips Awards 2016 at the Lancaster London Hotel.John Boutwood receives the Award for Outstanding Achievement. - Credit: Ashley Bingham

An Ely businessman who battled back to restart his business after an horrific car crash has landed a top industry award.

John Boutwood, Managing Director of Isle of Ely Produce has netted the award for his outstanding contribution to the fish frying industry after battering his way to the top at the 2016 National Fish & Chip Awards on Wednesday (20), organised by Seafish.

John scooped The Award for Outstanding Achievement during the ceremony hosted by the voice of food and drink on BBC Radio 2, Nigel Barden, at the Lancaster London Hotel.

Sponsored by Middleton Food Products, this award recognises an individual who has made a significant contribution to the industry and has been instrumental in advancing the industry through innovation, modernisation or simple perspiration.

Over 40 years ago, John started his business by selling potatoes to the trade. Despite an horrific car crash, which confined him to a wheelchair for life, John battled through over a year’s treatment in Stoke Mandeville to restart his business.

Between John and his son Oliver, they distribute over two million bags of potatoes to fish and chip shops across the UK and Ireland every year.

In addition, John purchased Chippy Chat, the leading magazine for fish friers and suppliers, as well as launching his annual ‘Field to Frier’ open day which is attended by key delegates across the industry. Both magazine and event are regarded as a poignant source of sharing knowledge within the trade, showcasing new product launches and best practice from across the industry.

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Mel Groundsell, Corporate Relations Director of Seafish, said: “The fish frying industry is not one which is short of exceptional talent however there can only be one winner in this award category. John has been raising the bar for fellow fish and chip operators for over 40 years and is a truly deserving winner of such a special award.

“When searching for our outstanding achiever, representatives from across all parts of the fish frying industry are invited to nominate a person deserving of recognition, and John’s nomination is truly one that the industry is wholeheartedly behind.”

Now in their 28th year, The National Fish & Chip Awards are widely considered as the ‘Oscars’ of the fish frying industry.