Sportsman Celebrates Michelin Star

By Lucy Britner

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Lamb and mutton

Sportsman Celebrates Michelin Star
Owners joy as Kent pub the Sportsman is awarded a prestigious Michelin star.

Stephen Harris of the Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent said he was "very, very happy" to be awarded a Michelin star.

Harris, who runs the Shepherd Neame tenancy with his brother Philip in November, took over the pub in 1999.

Stephen shares the head chef responsibilities with Dan Flavell. Over the past eight years, turnover has grown from £2,300 a week to £11-12,000 with average spend per head at lunch £27 and £34 at dinner.

The pub only seats 50 people and Stephen thinks it’s rude to turn tables.

“We have been doing this since 1999 and we have always set our standards high. We have always genuinely bought local produce. We often buy whole animals and butcher them in-house,” he said.

“We are still ambitious and we bought a pub in the middle of nowhere so that we could do what we wanted.

"People only come out here for the food - so it has to be worth it. We introduced a tasting menu at £45, to give international visitors a true taste of the local area.”

Stephen describes his style of cooking as cuisine de terroir - cooking what the land provides.

Best selling dishes include Sunday roast lamb, grazed on the salt marshes and butchered in-house priced at £16.95.

“The key is to remain ambitious but not do more than you are capable of. We’re a destination pub so we have no choice to offer food people are going to travel for.

“I think the star will mean busier weekdays and colder months. I’m afraid we might have to disappoint people at the weekend because I don’t want to start turning tables.

“We don’t add service charges. If people want to leave something, that’s very nice.”

Harris joked: "I have travelled a lot over the past two years and visited around 30 of the 50 best restaurants in the world.

"We aim to service top restaurant quality food in a pub environment. Our ingredients are top notch but I bet we`re the only Michelin-starred venue to use paper napkins!"

Related topics: Events & Awards

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