You’re in rude health when your kitchen has a spurtle drawer. You’re more oat couture than haute couture. Your bowl of porridge gets more likes than your profile picture.Ready. Set. Spurtle.
It’s that time of year again. When we celebrate the event of the season – yep you guessed it, World Porridge Day (10th October). With four Rude Health Porridge Championships under our belt, throwing a porridge shindig is kind of our thing. Year five was no different.Spurtles were sharpened. Oats were spilled. Sweat was shed. Last years winners, Native, managed to claim the Rude Health Porridge Crown for the second year running.
The crème de la crème of the chef and porridge world came together to battle it out on the porridge floor. We thought we had porridge down but check out this line up: Dishoom, High Mood Food, Essence Cuisine, Brother Marcus, Pear Tree Café, Timberyard, Leith’s School of Food and Wine, No. 11 Supperclub and Native, as well as awildcard from an Instagram competition, Rebecca Marcone, piled into the Waitrose Cookery School to prove just how versatile a humble bowl of porridge can be. Oat my god, it was good.
The lean, mean judging team were charged with the impossible task of choosing a winner from this stellar bunch. Entries were judged on their presentation, taste, texture and innovation by Observer and Guardian writer (and competitor in the World Porridge Championships 2014) Tim Lewis and Chef and ex-Petersham, Tito Bergamaschi, along with our very own Co-founder Nick Barnard (Speciality Champion at the 2013 World Porridge Championships).
A curveball entry came in the form of the Haleem Porridge from the Bombay brasserie, Dishoom. Now with four London restaurants, soon to be five, all styled after the old post-colonial ‘Irani cafes’ of Bombay, Dishoom, is now one of London’s best brunch spots and often has queues for lunch and dinner. Chef Rishi Anand’s, twist on porridge had us all rethinking porridge and gasping for more with his meaty, oat.
Joey O’Hare represented newly launched grab n go café, High Mood Food, and only went and joint-won the critics’ choice vote. They served up earth-loving ethics and a flexitarian outlook. Fermented, probiotic-friendly food is at the heart of their veg-centric menu. So, it is no surprise that kimchi topped their black barley and white miso porridge with cultured cashew cheese and egg. Eggcellent. Got miso full. Ate so much, barely come up for air. Ok. We’ll stop.
A first timer to the Rude Health Porridge Championship, Essence Cuisine, bagged runner up in this year’s competition for their pink porridge, made with homemade almond milk and pitaya. The new restaurant in East London shakes up plant-based cuisine convention, with a host of seasonal ingredients. Pretty and pink and powerful and phwoar.
Balham bros, Brother Marcus, represented by Tasos Gaitanos, is a London café and cocktail bar serving brunch and small plates, all made with seasonal ingredients. Their ‘sour cherry sunrise’ porridge was topped with Greek sour cherries and candied almonds. What a fiesta for the taste buds.
Battersea’s latest gem, Pear Tree Cafe ladled up a pudding porridge with a punch. They use organic, responsibly sourced local food where it is possible and serve grass-fed, outdoor reared meet, sustainable fish and artisan cheese. They host supper clubs, private parties, and jazz Wednesdays. Their sesame brûlée porridge was pretty jazzy too. Annabelle Partridge, armed with blow torch, represented the café. DISCLAIMER: no eyebrows were harmed in the making of this porridge.
Timberyard are known for their dynamic and independent creative public and private workspaces fused with high quality food and speciality tea and coffee. Head chef and creator Darren Elliott answered our autumnal prayers with his Autumn Morning Apples and Pear Porridge. Breakfast at its finest.
They only went and did it again. Two-time Rude Health porridge champion, Native Restaurant, provides an eating experience like no other. Their food encapsulates the UK finest wild produce. Their Parsnip, Bone Marrow and Sea Buckthorn Porridge was no exception. Judge Tito said what we were all thinking, “I would choose to have this porridge as my last ever meal… it was cooked with generosity, easiness and no ego at all.”
Fearless Susie Morrison, represented Leith’s as a recent graduate from their course. Up against the big dogs, she dark horsed her way to joint-winning the critics’ choice vote. Her Peruvian Style Porridge, or Gachas De Estlio Peruano, began with a spiced coconut porridge base and was topped with mango and sweet potato ceviche, manjar blanco, candied cashews and dehydrated mango crisps. Note to self. Book those tickets to Peru to get a spoonful of this again.
No. 11 Supperclub has been running supper clubs since 2013. Their supper clubs offer seasonal, simple yet creative menus using well sourced seasonal ingredients through local suppliers. Jo Smith represented No. 11 (and Scotland) with her Haggis and Heather porridge made with a thyme, onion and clove infused milk, served with a whisky and butter sauce and a savoury oat crumble topping. Now wonder they were awarded a winning spurtle as runners up.
Instagram Winner, Rebecca Marcone
Move over seasoned chefs, Rebecca Macrone is in town. Rebecca might not be whisking up meals for hungry restaurant guests every night but she wowed us in our prestigious social media Porridge Competition with her oatally delicious cheese board bowl topped with balsamic vinegar, fresh basil leaves, goat’s curd and maple syrup. Her winning entry earned her the right to compete, wowing us once again. One to watch!
And that’s that. Until next year – over n’ oat.
Native basking in their glory…