By Jack Titley, Peter Stanners, Connie Primmers & Tamsin Eames
A protégé son battered his father in the battle to win North West Chip Shop of the Year at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival on Monday.
Victorious Mark Lee, 46, won the crown for Tony’s Stadium Chippy, on Gray Mare Lane, having been taught the trade by his father, a veteran chip shop owner of 21 years.
Father, Anthony Lee, 72, owns Tony’s Chippy, of Piercey Street in Ancoates, and also made the final three out of 16 North West nominees for the title.
Mark said: “Winning the award was the best feeling ever.
“We are a traditional chip shop and we really care about what we do. This award shows we are doing something right.”
Anthony said there were no hard feelings between him and his son as they enjoy the friendly family rivalry.
He said he was very proud of his son, adding: “I’m very pleased for Mark. It can be hard work with a lot of preparation to get perfect fish and chips.”
Both chippies use the traditional Yorkshire method of cooking their chips in beef drippings rather than oil, which they believe made them stand out from the other nominees.
Mark said: “The perfect chip is really nice, brown and crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.”
Anthony decided to open his first chip shop having been inspired when he decorated his aunt’s chip shop.
He said: “Before the chippy I was in the National Service and at 72 years of age I’ve not even thought of retirement yet.”
Having both been hit hard by the recession, they have seen more new faces since the nominations which were sponsored by MEN Media and Holland Pies.
Mark welcomes the upturn in sales as he believes traditional fish and chip shops are a dying breed.
Loyal customer Tommy Duck said: “Yeah, Stadium Chippy is good. There is nowt like a pre-match chip muffin and gravy!”