HESTON Blumenthal would be proud of South Tyneside’s award-winning butchers.
Gordon Robson, 40, emulated his celebrity chef idol, creating an array of meat masterpieces to land seven gold medals and five silver at a regional roadshow.
And Paul Clark, who runs George H Pickings in Front Street, also came away from the event with a clutch of awards.
Gordon, owner of East Boldon’s Gordon’s Butchers & Fine Foods, wowed the judges at the BPEX Regional Roadshow in Harrogate with his innovative take on some British classics.
Among Gordon’s gold medal-winning selection were his spicy dry cured bacon, pork and garlic burgers, stuffed with garlic and herb cream cheese, and his runny-yolk Scotch egg.
Gordon, who has been a butcher for more than 25 years, said the judges admitted they were astonished by how he managed to create the latter.
He said: “The judges asked me how I did it, which was high praise indeed, and they said they’ve never tasted a Scotch egg as good as that.”
The former Masterchef contestant was helped by his wife, 37-year-old Lynsey, who he says pushes him to create the best food he can.
Gordon said: “My wife was with me, she cooked the sausage and, to be honest, she’s probably my hardest critic.
“She’s over the moon – this was a joint effort.”
There was particular pride in the gold for the garlic burgers, a concoction Gordon devised on the morning of the competition.
“We’re always trying to come up with new ideas, but we often have to try a few times, because not everything comes off first time.
“Some of it, like the runny-yolk Scotch egg, is unbelievably difficult.”
Paul, 46, landed gold awards for his traditional pork and chorizo, black pudding and sundried tomato sausages, and silver for his ‘pitman’s burger’ – a pork, black pudding and bacon creation.
And one of his staff members, Stephen Auton, 24, also landed a silver award for his chorizo banger.
Paul said: “I think it’s important that people know they are still guaranteed to get top-quality produce from us.
“The awards are a benchmark for us and we will always strive to meet it every year.
“It’s also nice for Stephen to get an award this time.
“In this time when the standards of meat products on offer at supermarkets is under scrutiny, people should be reassured that they know what they are getting from their local butcher.”