Doncaster's fish market is named as the best in Britain in national awards

Doncaster Fish Market has netted a coveted national award after judges praised its "distinct charm" and dubbed it "the future of its town" after being blown away by its quality, affordability and ongoing work with new and aspiring businesses.

Friday, 4th February 2022, 4:07 pm

One of the largest dedicated fish markets in the country and operated by Market Asset Management (MAM) on behalf of Doncaster Council, with whom it has a 25-year lease – the much-loved venue scooped Best Small Food Market at the industry 'Oscars' – the Great British Market Awards.

At the awards ceremony in Birmingham, impressed judges said on Thursday: "Amazingly, this market has eight independent fishmongers and is renowned from far and wide for its quality and affordability.

"Many of the faces that can be found in the fish market are long-standing characters who help give this market its distinct charm."

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The fish market

The judges also acknowledged MAM's work with traders to ensure it continues to thrive and evolve, ranging from support with social media promotion, traders' expansion plans and utilising start-up rent incentives and flexible lease terms to ensure units are attractive to small and independent businesses taking the leap.

In 2021, MAM supported the Clam and Cork to expand their stall, creating a 360 degrees kitchen that doubled the number of covers and provides sightlines through the whole fish market.

A partnership approach has been adopted, which includes turnover rents, marketing support and staff support for extended trading hours.

Handing MAM the award judges said: "The market works closely with new and aspiring businesses, offers support through unique social media channels and is part of a wider estate.

Market Asset Management’s Estates Manager Richard Gibbons; MAM’s general manager for Doncaster, Michelle Hobson; and MAM Commercial Director, Hayden Ferriby with the Best Small Food Market award at the Great British Market Awards.

"However, it has the status of being a distinctive small indoor food market in its own right with its own branding and character."

"It is a key part of the local heritage but also the future of its town. It provides valuable social food equality and community services to the whole town."

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The market serves the finest fresh fish, shellfish and game and has a winning blend of familiar faces such as Nigel Berry who has amassed 50 plus years at the venue to the newer arrivals like Clam & Cork – the only restaurant in Doncaster to be listed in the Good Food Guide in 2020.

The Clam and Cork

Judges heard how it offers a unique dining experience as fish is purchased directly from surrounding vendors, prepared by expert local chefs in a central open kitchen, and served to diners in the heart of the fish market to be enjoyed with selected pairings of wines.

Proof of the market's ability to adapt comes in the way it responded and stayed open every market day during the covid pandemic and lockdowns.

It increased local demand as supermarket supply chains struggled to replenish stocks and fishmongers also implemented delivery services during the lockdown, supporting their most vulnerable customers and those in isolation.

Market General Manager, Michelle Hobson said: "All of our incredible fishmongers work tirelessly to bring the people of Doncaster a wonderful range of fresh fish and seafood. It's fantastic that the team approach the traders and we have here is getting this national recognition.

Stallholders hard at work

"The market has endless potential, and we are so excited for you all to experience its bright future with us."

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.

Doncaster fish market representatives at the award ceremony
The Gentleman Fishmonger