The Porridge what?
Another year, another Rude Health Porridge Championships. Here’s what went down.
For the seventh year, we scoured the city for those who are just as t-oat-ally enthusiastic about porridge as we are and then put them to the ultimate test. The rules? Make two bowls of porridge, in 20 minutes. Some ingredients and toppings can be prepared beforehand, but the oats must be cooked there and then.
Who took part?
This year, the spurtle was passed to the media world, inviting cookery writers and food journalists to put their porridge prowess to the test to be crowned the Rude Health porridge champion 2019.
Competitors included food writer Dale Berning Sawa, The Telegraph’s Pip Sloan, Bryony Hopkins from the BBC and A Belly Full Of, Foodism’s Lydia Winter and Ally Head, Polly Sayer and Georgina Blaskey from Sheerluxe, freelance writer Phoebe Hunt and Sanne van Rooij, a journalist all the way from the Netherlands.
Separating the wheat from the chaf:
Their recipes were judged by a stellar line up of porridge professionals: chef, entrepreneur and owner of the highly acclaimed restaurant Darjeeling Express, Asma Khan, ex-Nope head chef and founder of Chefs in Schools, Nicole Pisani, and our very own Co-founder Nick Barnard who also happens to be an award-winning porridge maker (2013 winner of the speciality category at the 2013 World Porridge Championships).
Ready. Set. Spurtle.
Contestants were split into three stations, each with a staggered start, ensuring every bowl was served hot to the judges. Sweet, salty and spiced smells swirled around the room as the competitors chopped, stewed and roasted their ingredients. It was spurtles at the ready as the oats began bubbling. The key to a good bowl of oats is getting the consistency perfect, not too firm or too raw but juuuust right. As we countdown the final 60 seconds, presentation is key. Oats at the bottom, toppings layered carefully above before one bowl is whisked away to be judged, while the other is photographed.
After deliberating on presentation, taste, texture and innovation, the judging panel unanimously chose Foodism to take home the winning title for their bowl-lickingly good porridge recipe: Best of British oat risotto with parsnips three ways. Grabbing second and third place were The Telegraph with their five spiced pear porridge and Dale Berning Sawa with her Zenzai porridge.
Gone are the days of gruel and unexciting oats. Porridge is back in fashion and these days, anything goes. This year’s Rude Health Porridge Championships saw innovative ingredients including sweet red bean paste, amaranth, candied lavender and miso paste.
Try the winning bowl of porridge at The Rude Health Café from October 7-11, have a go at your own winning porridge recipe or give our top three recipes a whack at home by following the recipes below.
1st Place: British Oat Risotto With Parsnips Three Ways. Recipe by Ally Head & Lydia Winter from Foodism.
2nd Place: Five Spiced Pear Porridge. Recipe by Pip Sloan from The Daily Telelgraph.
3rd Place: Zenzai Porridge. Recipe by Dale Berning Sawa.