Wandsworth entrepreneur pipped to post at World Porridge Making Championships


Nick Barnard, co-founder and managing director of Rude Health, made it to the final five of the 19th Golden Spurtle contest.


By Sophie Devonshire

A Wandsworth entrepreneur was narrowly pipped to the post at the World Porridge Making Championships in Carrbridge, Scotland, on Saturday.

Nick Barnard, co-founder and managing director of Rude Health, a multiple award-winning natural food company specialising in oats, made it to the final five of the 19TH Golden Spurtle contest.

He faced stiff competition in the village hall from 16 porridge pundits, both male and female, from all over the world.

Competitors had travelled from as far as California, Sweden and Germany to take part.

Nick said: “The event was originally created to put Carrbridge on the map. It’s very idiosyncratic and there is a lovely element of randomness to it.”

His wife Camilla, also a co-founder, said: “Carrbridge has a population of just 800. The competition is ridiculous and wonderful which is why we love it.”

Contestants had half an hour to prepare half a pint of traditional porridge using just oatmeal, water and salt while simultaneously preparing a speciality dish.

There are three heats involving the two dishes then just the plain oatmeal dish is repeated in the final.

Nick used his own oat blend, The Oatmeal, during the competition. Obsessed with becoming World Porridge Champion after making it to last year’s final, he made a special blend of fine and medium oatmeals.

He said: “I wanted to create a blend that I thought was bang on for people’s palettes. It has a lovely texture, still with some bite but also with some creaminess to it.”

It is one of the few organic Scottish oatmeals on the market and unlike modern quick oats, it is not steamed or rolled.

His speciality dish, Team GB, celebrated the best of British food after a superb summer of sport. It intriguingly combined his unique oatmeal blend, apple syrup, bacon, grated cheddar, sea salt and raw cream.

He said: “These are champion ingredients celebrated in a very simple bowl of food.”

Nick is the only Englishman to have reached the final twice. He said he hoped next year would be third time lucky for him.

On this year’s judging panel were top chefs George McIvor and Neil Mugg and guest judge Browyn Taylor, 16, from Inverness who is Britain’s strongest schoolgirl and a national record holder for under-18 weightlifting.

Benedict Horsbrugh, a British expat living in Germany, stirred his way to this year’s World Porridge Champion title. He was inspired to make his own porridge as his father’s was not to his taste.

Rude Health was started by Nick and Camilla in 2006 as a muesli business. Their products are sold in Waitrose, Planet Organic and selected Sainsbury’s stores.

Nick said: “We’re challenging people to look at what’s in food and question why it tastes so good then to look for food that has very good ingredients, all of which you understand, that will please your taste buds and sustain you.”

World Porridge Day takes place today. To celebrate the day, Carrbridge is teaming up with Scottish charity, Mary’s Meals, which works in 16 of the world’s poorest countries to provide daily school meals for over 500,000 hungry children.

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