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MasterChef judge infuriates fans with ‘Yorkshire relish’ Hendos snub

Written by on 27/11/2020

Some delicacies have an unbreakable link with their place of origin, like Wensleydale cheese and Cornish pasties.

So when Sheffield‘s locally famous Henderson’s Relish finally got its big break on television – after a lifetime in the shadow of Worcestershire sauce – it should have been a moment to rejoice.

The sauce, produced in the city and splashed on virtually everything edible, was a key ingredient in a sauce which wowed the judges on BBC’s MasterChef.

But while the almost mystical flavour may have helped produce a taste-bud tantalising sauce served with beef, the way it was described left a bitter taste in the mouths of many viewers.

Just for a second, the clocks of Sheffield almost stopped ticking as Jay Raynor, better known as a national newspaper food critic, described it as “Yorkshire relish”.

To viewers it seemed a blunder akin to calling a bread roll a barm cake, or mispronouncing the word scone.

Contestant Luke Rhodes knew Henderson’s would pack a punch

Those who had been glued to the screen as Raynor described the sauce it helped produce as having an “almost terrifying” darkness were stunned by the blunder.

One viewer, with restraint, described it as being “delicately referred to as Yorkshire relish. Hendo’s made a welcome appearance on Masterchef”.

Raynor later felt the need to explain himself on Twitter, saying: “We weren’t allowed to use brand names. The air quotes around Yorkshire relish were to make it clear I knew what it was.”

What he perhaps didn’t realise is that Henderson’s is more than a brand name, the sauce in its bottles is almost like the blood flowing through the city’s veins.

Years ago when a false rumour circulated that it was going out of production, Sheffield actor Sean Bean reportedly bought a case of it, rather like a fine wine, to stock his pantry.

So to call it Yorkshire – rather than Sheffield – relish was an act of almost heresy.

Contestant Luke Rhodes is senior sous chef at Halifax Hall and originates from Sheffield, so clearly knew Hendo’s could be a secret weapon.

Did anyone see him blink when the ‘Y’ word was used?