Executive Chef Kenny Leary from Tinto Hotel in Biggar has won Vegan Chef of the Year 2018 at The Scottish Food Awards.
The honor follows the launch of the hotel's increasingly popular Vegan Dinner Evenings, offering a four-course tasting menu, which were started in response to the lack of variety for vegetarians and vegans in more rural areas.
Leary has been developing the vegan night menu since its inception, offering a new menu every vegan evening event to try and encourage guests to try something new and perhaps out of their comfort zone.
Speaking about the award, Executive Head Chef Kenny Leary said: "To win the award on Sunday evening was a great surprise as it certainly wasn't expected. To be recognised for covering a food area that most chefs shy away from is so pleasing for our team at Tinto and proves that taking on a challenge can be rewarding.
"Having now been involved in researching and producing the vegan evening menus for some time now, I feel my understanding of a vegan diet has vastly improved and really opened my eyes to this type of cuisine.
"Vegan diets are amongst the most nutrient-dense around and especially high in dietary fibre, magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and E, folate and most other phytochemicals, which is why we will continue to give vegan food a prominent place in our forthcoming menus at The Tinto Hotel."
Brian Robinson, Managing Director, added: "Kenny suggested that we start a vegan night, once a month and the rest is history, the comments have been outstanding and we are very proud of the achievements of Kenny and his team.
"We are very much a hotel and cater for everyone. However, we were keen to offer something new to the area, frustratingly a somewhat forgotten, but beautiful part of Scotland; we wanted to attract people to the area and viewed a vegan night as a good way to do this.
"This recognition is outstanding and well deserved by Kenny, who views this very much as a team effort. I am immensely proud of each of our team and very excited about the future of the hotel and our plans to develop the hotel further and importantly attract people to the area."
You can find out more about the menu here