FOUR local fish and chip shops are battling to be named Britain's best chippy.
Compo's Fish Restaurant in Holmfirth, Southfield Fisheries in Huddersfield, Low Road Fisheries in Dewsbury and West Gate Fish Bar in Elland, are in the battle to win the coveted title of the best fish and chip shop in the North East.
In all, 81 shops are competing against each other in the regional heat.
Fish and chips are the traditional dish topping the nation's favourite food polls.
Experts claim they prove a nutritious option and, some historians argue, they even helped us win the Second World War!
But now, for the 17th year running, Britain's chippies are pulling out all the stops to win a national contest.
The National Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Competition 2004 was opened by celebrity chef James Martin from Ready Steady Cook and Housecall. The competition is organised by the Sea Fish Industry Authority and aims to recognise the hard work and quality of the industry.
Customers were asked to vote for their favourite local chippy by filling out nomination forms.
The 15 shops in 19 regions of the UK who receive most customer nominations will be visited by mystery judges.
They will then be scored on the quality of their product, customer services, working practices, hygiene standards and shop presentation.
The top fish and chip shop in each of the 19 areas will be announced in September, and from here a further round of judging will determine the top 10 shops in the country.
The overall UK winner will be revealed at a ceremony held at a London hotel in January, 2005.
Chef James Martin said: "Fish and chips are definitely my favourite food, they are a wholesome, hearty meal and great as part of a healthy, balanced diet".
* Fish and chips are Britain's number one take-away, with more than 283 million meals sold per year.
* They are an excellent source of vitamins and high quality protein, with 334 less calories than an average portion of chicken tikka masala or donor kebab.
* Cod is the most popular fish sold in fish and chip shops, accounting for 61.5% of fish sold. Haddock makes up 25% of sales.