University of Brighton Alumni Association

Turning fish and chips into a fine art

Two Fine Art Sculpture graduates Bonny and James Ritchie have taken the UK’s favourite takeaway to a new level.The winners of the 'Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award' at the 2016 National Fish & Chip Awards, Bonny & James Ritchie, co-owners of Simpsons Fish & Chips in Cheltenham, Glocestershire.

In January 2016 they were crowned champions at the 2016 National Fish and Chip Awards for their business, Simpsons. Since then, their Cheltenham-based business has boomed as customers have clamoured to try out their award-winning fish and chips. As reigning champions, they have undertaken a year-long ambassadorial role as spokespersons for the industry. On top of their outreach programmes, they have also made guest appearances on ITV’s This Morning and attracted a lot of exposure via radio interviews.

Bonny and James met on an art foundation course then both went to study Fine Art Sculpture at the University of Brighton. After graduating, they looked at revamping Bonny’s family’s fish and chips business and modernise the offering. Their artistic backgrounds were put to good use as they restyled the business premises.

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However, their real priority was upgrading fish and chips to offer the best version of this national dish possible. As part of their mission, they source stock from responsible fisheries and are stringent about the ingredients for their batter, excluding unhealthy additions such as MSG and salt.

Casting the educational net
Bonny said: “We make a product which we are happy to feed our children.” In this respect they put their money where their mouth is, so to speak, happily catering for their two children (aged one and three). Their commitment to educating children about fish and chips was also demonstrated when they wrote a children’s book last year – Where Do Fish and chips Come From – to increase awareness of fish species and responsible sourcing. This is supplemented with workshops for local schoolchildren, where children are encouraged to examine wet fish and make their own fishcakes for lunch.

As part of their modern approach, the couple provides wheat- and gluten-free alternatives to cater for customers with dietary intolerances. The menu also features their home-made jalapeno tartare sauce and some delectable-sounding vegetarian options including battered halloumi slices, and homemade cheese and onion fritters.


If you’re in the Cheltenham area and you’ve worked up an appetite, check them out.





Sarah Grant • June 16, 2016

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