It’s the Sheffield sauce that has been transforming ordinary dinners into gourmet feats for more than a century.
Henderson’s Relish has been praised in Parliament, inspired works of art and is, of course, stocked in every respectable restaurant in the region.
Now, the legendary condiment – as much a symbol of the Steel City as, well, steel – is set to get a new international claim to fame: it will be the secret weapon of an American hoping to become the world’s best competitive eater.
Adrian Morgan will use Hendo’s as his chosen condiment in the final of the World Oyster Eating Championship in New Orleans next month after he was introduced to the spicy stuff by Sheffield expat Jamie Midgley.
The 26-year-old from Baton Rouge already has a considerable reputation in his chosen, er, sport. He’s known as The Rabbit because he prepares for contests by eating 30 heads of lettuce to expand his stomach, and is ranked seventh in the world by – we’re not making this up – organising body Major League Eating. A victory in Florida will lead to him smashing into the top five.
“There’s a problem, though,” says Jamie, a 45-year-old from Norfolk Park who now lives in New Orleans. “The Rabbit struggles with oysters both texturally and flavour wise. Despite this he still managed to eat 37 dozen in 10 minutes at last year’s event – but it wasn’t enough to lift the title.
“Competitors are allowed to use a condiment to aid their consumption. Traditionally this is cocktail sauce. However I’ve introduced him to the delights of Henderson’s Relish which he is going to use as his secret weapon and hopefully spur him on to the winner’s podium.”
As for Adrian, he says Henderson’s has become one of his favourite sauces: “I love it,” notes the 13-stone professional muncher.
And he’s confident of success at the competition on June 1. Recently he beat Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas in the World Crawfish Eating Championship, also held in New Orleans.
“That was the first eating title of my career,” says Adrian who maintains a healthy diet and fitness regime in between competitions.
“We all know Henderson’s is one of the best things ever invented,” says Jamie, a trained social worker who moved to America more than a decade ago.
“It would be great if it could inspire a world eating champion.”
If it does, there’s no time for Adrian to rest on his digestive system. He’s next contest – the World Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island is on July 4.
What could you scoff down in record time with a splash of Hendo’s? Email email@example.com.