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Published 9th Mar 2018

tees valley mayor ben houchen proposes protected status for famous teesside parmo

Anthony O’Shaughnessy from the North East last night stunned the judges on BBC’s MasterChef when he cooked up Teesside’s local delicacy, the parmo.

The Teesside dish was thrust into the national spotlight and was trending on twitter, when the ambulance call operator from Gateshead wowed the judges and it was described as, “the next big thing” by the former winner of MasterChef.

Praising the chef, Ben Houchen said: “Well done Anthony for selling Teesside culture and food on national TV”.

Last year, the Tees Valley Mayor launched a bid to secure protected status for the Teesside Parmo and has received strong support from local producers across the region looking to back the campaign.

Mr Houchen added: “The parmo is a product that our region is rightly very proud of.

“While my proposal for protected status is obviously playful, it nonetheless represents a chance to celebrate our local culture and highlight our produce on the world stage. People may say the matter of the parmo is not serious, but I can assure them we are serious about the parmo, after all… It could be the next big thing.”

The meal is considered a Teesside culinary institution. It is believed that it was cooked up in 1958 by former soldier Nicos Harris at the American Grill restaurant he ran on Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough.

The protected status is granted to foodstuffs produced according to a traditional method, using traditional ingredients or with a traditional composition. If the parmo – flattened chicken breast dipped in egg and breadcrumbs, deep fried, and covered in béchamel sauce and melted cheese – gains protected status, it will sit alongside such respected products such as Serrano ham, Neapolitan pizza and Bramley apple pie filling.

The application to secure protected status is expected to be submitted in the coming weeks.

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