A COUPLE who gave up their jobs fewer than 18 months ago to run a fish and chip shop have been shortlisted for a national award.

Alex Papaioannou, a maths teacher, and Hannah Hall, a buyer for supermarket giant Asda, decided to pursue a new career inspired by their shared love of food.

They took over the business in Robin Lane, Pudsey, in May last year and renamed it The Bearded Sailor in March.

They have now been shortlisted in the Best Newcomer category at the National Fish and Chip Awards - the only Yorkshire business to make the cut.

Mr Papaioannou, 34, said: “We have both always been really passionate about food - and fish and chips in particular.

“When the opportunity came up, we thought we love fish and chips and always try different dishes around the country, so we thought why not give it a go and make a success of it.”

He said they decided from the outset that quality was a key ingredient to success and that approach was paying off with the business attracting a growing number of customers.

“We strive for high quality, we have put in a lot of research and hard work into getting the best ingredients, which is starting to pay off,” he said.

“It is amazing to be shortlisted and we are delighted to be the only shop in Yorkshire and one of only ten in the country to be up for the award.”

Miss Hall, 26, said they had also been careful to keep the the traditions of the fish and chip trade alongside their insistence of producing high quality food at an attractive price.

She said: “In the general food market now, restaurants and café standards have increased so much your food has to be of a high quality.

“I think the customers appreciate the high quality but we have also tried to keep the price down to give people good quality food at an affordable price.

“We are a traditional shop, we have classic items like Spam fritters along with traditional fish and chips.”

The winner of the Best Newcomer Award will be announced at the 30th anniversary National Fish and Chip Awards ceremony, which will be held in London on January 25, 2018.