DONER meat maestros in Thame have defended their title at the British Kebab Awards. 

Atalay's Kebab Van retained its crown for kebab van of the year at a ceremony in London last night.

The van in the town's High Street was founded by Turkish-born Resul Atalay in 1988 and is now run by his twin sons Jason and Josh.

A statement released by the award organisers said: "Resul is famous for making his own doner from scratch and his homemade chilli sauce has no less than 30 ingredients."

Hassan’s Street Kitchen in Broad Street, Oxford, was also a finalist in the same category and came second.

It received a certificate for being highly recommended.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail on his way home from the capital today, Mr Atalay said: "It's a brilliant feeling, to have the whole of the UK industry there and you're up on stage."

He said people's perception of kebabs as dirty or greasy was starting to be challenged.

Mr Atalay said: "It's been handled wrong for so many years, British people lost trust and they deserve better.

"We are trying our best to increase quality in the industry, but it's not enough yet."

The father-of-four, whose two daughters also help out, said family values were at the core of the business.

He said: "We are honest people and we care about what we do.

"We use British lamb and local, fresh ingredients."

Mr Atalay hailed customers as another key to his success, and said their feedback in the early years helped him to refine recipes.

He said: "I can't find enough words to describe the people of Thame - my customers are the main people behind this successful business.

"They are really knowledgeable about food, we created this together."

Trade at Atalay’s spiked in February last year after it won the same title

Its rise to fame continued at the weekend with a slot on the BBC's Saturday Kitchen. 

The business posted about its success on social media, thanking customers for their support.

Members of the public nominated 5,012 kebab shops, which were slashed to a shortlist of 153 based on public votes.

Finalists competed across 16 categories, including best regional takeaway and chef of the year.

British Kebab Awards founder Ibrahim Dogus said: “The kebab is on the march to be Britain’s national dish and the excitement around this event grows every year.

"Some of the kebabs being produced in the top flight are incredible.

"This cuisine is coming of age in Britain with interesting twists and, at its heart, good ingredients cooked well."