Published: 13:52, 09 September 2019
| Updated: 16:30, 09 September 2019
Pub grub has come a long way in the last decade - but few have taken it as far as The Dog in Wingham.
It’s a big feather in the chef’s hat for Sam McClurkin, who only took charge of the kitchen team 15 months ago.
Now he has put The Dog on the national culinary map, with his flavours and finesse impressing judges.
The 23-year-old, who previously worked at the Michelin-starred Sportsman, said: “When it was announced we had won, it was mind-blowing because we were up against some serious opposition, including restaurants with a Michelin star.
“It’s fantastic to be recognised for all the hard work. Our ethos is to not to over-complicate our food, which is something I was taught from the outset.
“We source as much of our produce as we can locally and regularly change the menu to keep it interesting.
“Now we are looking to the future and my ambition is to get a coveted Michelin star.”
The latest award is the icing on the cake for the business, which already has an AA Rosette for culinary excellence, was runner up in the Kent Food and Drink Awards 2017 Restaurant of the Year category and was the National Pub and Bar Awards county winner in 2017 and last year.
Marilyn Brigden and son Marc Brigden took over The Dog in 2016 and gave it a designer-but-homely makeover, including its eight boutique bedrooms.
General manager Marc said: “Our staff are like one big family and we care passionately about what we do.
“To be voted best for food in the country is a huge accolade for us, given the competition we were up against.
“It’s reward for the effort we put in to giving our customers great food and service.”