Batter than the rest: Little Brown Jug reaches national fish and chip finals

Batter than the rest: Little Brown Jug reaches national fish and chip finals

The Little Brown Jug is in the running in the Best Foodservice Operator category, which is open to places where the dish is included on the menu but is not the core offering – including pubs, restaurants, leisure outlets, cafes and hotels.

The Whiting & Hammond pub is up against two other finalists, Fish in the London’s Borough Market and The Woodmans Arms in Whickham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London on January 24.

Entries are judged across a wide range of criteria including responsible sourcing policies, preparation and cooking techniques, promotional activity and menu innovation.

Ahead of the awards, the three contenders will be visited by mystery diner judges who will assess levels of customer service and the quality of their fish and chips.

Marcus Coleman, Chief Executive of the organisers Seafish, said: “This award is proof that you can taste high-quality fish and chips in places other than dedicated takeaways and restaurants.

“This award celebrates businesses that don’t solely focus on producing the dish, but nevertheless go the extra mile to create great quality fish and chips and provide customers with a memorable dining experience.”

Callum Smith is the head chef at the Little Brown Jug, and he said what makes the difference is ‘attention to detail and taking pride in what we do’.

He credited the success of the beer-battered dish to ‘the produce we use, the fish from our supplier FES and the beer we use, local real ale from Larkins, which is really good’.

So what’s the secret of a perfect fish supper? “It’s best when the fish are frozen at sea, so that when it’s defrosted it keeps the fish moist,” said Callum.

He added that there’s something special about the dish because ‘there’s no one else in the world who does it –especially the way we do it. It’s by far our biggest seller, apart from roasts on Sundays.”

Callum, 25, from Sevenoaks was appointed head chef at the Little Brown Jug in September after spending four years as sous-chef.

But he started out at the pub as an apprentice eight years ago before moving away to pursue other avenues.

He worked at Hever Castle and then various Tunbridge Wells hotels, and spent a year working at an inn in Pitlochry, Scotland.

Brian Whiting, the owner of Whiting & Hammond which runs five pubs locally, said: “I am immensely proud of Callum, our head chef, and the team at The Little Brown Jug for being a finalist in the National Fish and Chip awards.

“We have always been proud of our fish and chips, one of our top selling dishes. This is a huge award accolade for the team to come in the top three in the UK.”

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