It must have taken a lot of bottle - but the man who dared to diss Sheffield’s favourite sauce has finally eaten humble pie.
South London MP Jim Dowd, who caused a storm after accusing much-loved Henderson’s Relish of copying Lea and Perrin’s Worcestershire Sauce, put in a shift on the production line in a special peace-making exercise.
After sitting down to pie, peas and lashings of Hendo’s with company owners the Freeman family, the Labour politician was treated to a tour of the new factory on the Parkway Business Park.
The visit was kept on the down-low due to some of the more violent threats Mr Dowd directed at him by superfans of the spicy sauce.
But the backlash which made him Sheffield’s persona non grata seemed a world away as he rolled up his sleeves in the bottling room.
Mr Dowd said: “Shortly after I made the comments I was cornered by five fellow MPs who said, ‘Don’t you know what you’ve done?’.
“Henderson’s is a fine relish and I know it is not the same as Worcestershire sauce - as many have handily pointed out.
“The loyalty to the brand is obviously very strong, and I don’t think Henderson’s promotes itself enough.
“It is very loved.”
Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, said: “We’ve given him quite a bit of stick about this in Westminster.”
The Star was inundated with letters, phone calls and emails from across the UK and beyond following Mr Dowd’s comments in the House of Commons.
Managing director Simon Freeman said: “I was fearful at first - we’ve only ever had people say positive things about us.
“We wanted to keep it low-key but the reaction was so strong. The people of Sheffield had spoken. For us the response was hugely flattering. We’re just a little company trying to make some sauce in Sheffield.”
He said the company has now made a firm friend in Mr Dowd and hoped the visit would show there were no hard feelings.
One lesson ‘Hendogate’ has taught - this is one dressing you should not dress down.