Chef Ali Borer’s pork and offal laab egg was crowned the best egg at the competition, which was held last night (10 April) at The Canonbury in Islington and which is now in its ninth year. Second place went to Robbie Maclean of The Montagu Arms, with his home-made local pork, soft-boiled egg; while Pidgin’s James Ramsden served a classic cold picnic egg accompanied by ants, which took third spot.
“I always think Scotch Egg Challenge gets better every year, but I truly think this was the best year yet,” says Oisín Rogers, landlord of Young’s The Guinea Grill and founder of Scotch Egg Challenge. An outstanding field of contestants from all over the country came together in a spirit of camaraderie which does our industry great credit, and the level of commitment, skill and innovation shown was heartwarming.
“Smoking Goat’s winning egg was extremely clever but more importantly, as the judges agreed, just bloody delicious. For Young’s part, it’s an honour for us have hosted the 9th annual Scotch Egg Challenge at The Canonbury and to have been able to support Only A Pavement Away through the sale of VIP tickets, which sold out in record time, the contestants’ entry fees, and donations on the night. I’m already looking forward to the event’s tenth anniversary in 2020.”
This year’s competition also awarded the highest new entry, which went to Mark Taft, executive chef at The Seafood Pub Company for his spiced quail and lamb scotch egg with onion bhaji crust; with Andy Waugh from Mac & Wild being highly commended for his venison, black pudding and haggis scotch egg.
Holborn Dining Room won the ‘Most Liked Egg On Social Media’ trophy, a new category for 2019 introduced in homage to a picture of an egg becoming the most liked picture ever on Instagram earlier this year. Its egg accrued more than 1,900 likes when posted on Instagram by its chef Calum Franklin.
Simon Rimmer, cook, restaurateur and co-host of Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, chaired the judging panel, alongside Sunday Times food editor Lisa Markwell; editor of Restaurant Magazine Stefan Chomka; and beer expert and author Melissa Cole. Scotch Egg Challenge veteran judge Bob Granleese, food editor at The Guardian, acted as adjudicator.
The evening benefited hospitality charity Only A Pavement Away, with all proceeds from VIP tickets sales and contestants’ entry fees being donated to the charity.