WHEN Richard Fowler was asked to help out in the York family fish business after his father broke his kneecap, he give up an opportunity to work at The Ritz hotel in London.

The 40-year-old former Wasps rugby player said he was disappointed at the time, but if it was not for that turn of events he would not be running the successful company he is today.

Mr Fowler is the latest entrant in The Press Business Awards 2012 and is hoping for victory in the small business and family business categories.

FR Fowler & Son was a long-running family fish and chip business in Gerard Avenue, York, until Richard leased out the fish and chip section to concentrate purely on cementing Fowler’s reputation as the best purveyor of fish in the region.

He said: “It’s still a tough business. We get up at 4am, visiting ports all around the East Coast where we have built up a great relationship with the fishermen. We then return to York to process the orders by morning to meet the daily requirements of more than 150 top restaurants and hotels across North Yorkshire.”

He said: “We only deal with those fisherman who abide strictly by sustainable fishing practices. We need to ensure that fish stocks are always available not just for us, but future generations.

“It’s hard. We are dealing with small, family-run fishing businesses. But in our favour is the fact that as fleets decline over the years and fewer boats are going to sea, stocks are gradually increasing.”

He said he also feels it is in everyone’s interests as well as his own if the public is educated in what is best and every year he has kicked off the York Food and Drink Festival with a demonstration of how to prepare and cook fish to perfection.