A LAKE District fish and chip shop that endeavours to cater for those with special dietary requirements has won a national award.

Vinegar Jones, based in Bowness, picked up a gold in the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards at the Food Matters Exhibition held at the Excel, Royal Victoria Dock, in London.

The business was also the overall winner in the fish and chip shops category for the Pathfinder Award.

The independent fish and chip shop, which was gutted by a devastating fire in April 2012, offers gluten-free fish and chips, fishcakes and mushy peas every day.

The take away was shortlisted in October after entering a complex allergen/gluten/coeliac awareness form. It was then judged anonymously when food preparation, storage, cooking methods and counter team knowledge were all rigorously tested.

Paul Hogg, who runs Vinegar Jones with his wife Tracey, has been the driving force in sourcing gluten free products, together with cooking methods and training.

He was delighted to receive the award and sees it as confirmation that Vinegar Jones’ methods are correct. He was also thrilled that offering the gluten free menu every day was highlighted by the forum.

Mr Hogg feels that offering vegetarian and allergen free options is definitely the way forward for Vinegar Jones.

"The options enhance all the traditional and classic items on the Great British Chippy menu," he said. "Allergen intolerance cannot be taken too seriously and offering food prepared under the correct regime can mean everyone can eat together and feel confident."

The shop has been offering gluten-free options since Easter this year.

Mrs Hogg said: "Vinegar Jones has come a long way from the devastation in 2012 and would like to say thank you to all our new and loyal customers."

The FreeFrom Eating Awards is in its third year and awards director Michelle Berriedale-Johnson said it was great to see how this year's entry had grown in number and quality.

"Bigger players are now taking the sector seriously while the quality of the offer in the independents has just rocketed," she said. "We can’t wait to see what next year will bring!"