Page last updated at 17:44 GMT, Sunday, 12 October 2008 18:44 UK

Secret weapon wins porridge title


Porridge champion causes a stir after securing the coveted Golden Spurtle

The new World Porridge Making Champion took the title on his 15th attempt.

Ian Bishop revealed his secret weapon was local water from a bore hole tapped 100ft into an underground river near his home in Carrbridge, Strathspey.

Amateur enthusiasts were joined by professional chefs in vying for the coveted Golden Spurtle in the town.

Mr Bishop said: "It shows determination and perseverance eventually pays. It has obviously taken a few years to get it right."

Mr Bishop, who has become one of the few local winners of the competition, revealed he had competed in every single championship since they began 15 years ago.

We had a nice selection of professional chefs, landladies, and housewives and husbands
George McIvor
Competition judge
"I remember the first year when it was organised and I had never made porridge before," he said. "I saw the lumps and was told I had to stir like hell.

"I am delighted to have won it at long last."

Ian, who runs a bicycle business and a cross-country ski school, added: "My secret ingredient is the water, which comes from a bore hole in my garden.

"It's local water which made the best porridge."

He was presented with the Golden Spurtle - a spatula-like tool traditionally used to stir porridge - by Miss Scotland, Stephanie Willemse.

The porridge had to be made with the traditional oatmeal, salt and water, but entrants in the speciality section could add whatever ingredients they liked.

Entries were graded on consistency, taste and colour.

'Amazing standard'

Judge George McIvor, of the Master Chefs of Great Britain, said: "I was especially impressed by the use of oats by all the finalists. They managed to source their own oats and all came up with very different quality of porridge.

"They were all varied, which is amazing considering they only have three ingredients of oats, water and salt.

"The ones who made it to the cook-off were of a very high standard. We had a nice selection of professional chefs, landladies, and housewives and husbands."

The winner of the Speciality Porridge was Addy Daggert, who also made it to the final of the porridge-making contest for the Golden Spurtle.

Addy, a 38-year-old professional Dutch chef, made his special porridge with a mixture of marzipan and home-made ice cream with an 18-year-old Glenfiddich.

Over the centuries, porridge - described as "Chief of Scotia's food" by poet Rabbie Burns - has been surrounded by myths and customs in Scotland.

Traditionally it should only be stirred in a clockwise direction using the right hand to avoid invoking the devil, while legend dictates that porridge be referred to as "they", and should be eaten standing up.

The kitchen dressers of Highland crofts often contained a "porridge drawer" which was filled with freshly cooked porridge that could be cut into squares when cold and taken onto the hills for sustenance.

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