Stockton continues to be the home of the World’s Best Parmo, as Italian restaurant Borge was once again declared simply the bech!
Fighting off competition from three other rival’s, Borge was to receive the collective acclaim of an esteemed panel of judges during Monday night’s ‘Parmo-off’ at Middlesbrough Town Hall.
Marking the end of a month long campaign to find “The World’s Best Parmo” the 2019 edition represented the first running of the Tees based competition since 2015’s Stockton Summer Show.
Yet this years edition was no different from the previous competition, with Borge winning once again and securing a hatrick of consecutive victories in the process, this time beating Middlesbrough eaterie, Manjaros, Hartlepool’s, Open Jar and fellow Stockonite venue, The George Pub & Grill, to the crown.
A fitting tribute to the sadly departed ‘Parmo King’
Speaking after collecting the award from Middlesbrough’s elected Mayor, Andy Preston, owner of Borge, Fash Khalili was overcome with delight and emotion that his team had once again triumphed.
“I feel over the moon,” He said.
“I thank everybody for helping, for voting, all my our customers over all these years for supporting me.”
But this year’s win would also take on extra significance, as the Borge family celebrated the memory of a sadly departed head chef Craig Wilson through the evening’s win.
Fash said: “That’s his recipe that we used tonight for the Parmesan.”
Having joined the restaurant in 1989, in ‘heartbreaking‘ circumstances, Craig passed away in August this year after experiencing complications following heart-surgery, not long after celebrating thirty-years service with the restaurant.
But it is clear Craig’s status as the undisputed ‘Parmo King’ of these parts, and indeed the world will live on, with 2019’s victory adding to the restaurants successes in 2014 and 2015.
How the night unfolded
Opening proceedings on the night within Middlesbrough Town Hall’s old fire station, Mayor Preston expressed his delight in bringing the competition “back on the radar, back to the town.”
The event would see the four competing restaurants, who had been whittled down from 30 entrants via a month-long public poll that attracted over 10,000 votes, prepare their Parmo’s one by one for in a blind taste test for a panel of eight judges.
The judges included BBC Tees, Scott Makin, 2019 Masterchef Semi-Finalist, Annabel Broome , Parmo connoisseur Craig Dawson of Parmo Bites, Olympic sprinter Richard Kilty and three-times BDO World Darts Champion, Glen Durrant.
It was revealed that efforts to obtain EU ‘protected status‘ for the Parmo has been stepped up with the formal application now officially going in.
Final word to the champs
As the night drew to a close and plates were cleared, there was just enough time to have one final word with Borge owner Fash.
Keen to give him an opportunity to make a pitch to anyone who’s yet to enjoy the award winning dinning experience at his Stockton establishment, Fash’s simple invitation was in keeping with his warm, gentlemanly nature.
“We’d welcome them with my open arms, and any time they want to try a Parmesan, it’d be my pleasure to see them and serve them.”
So there you have it – if you haven’t tried it yet, make sure you get along to Borge to taste what Fash can rightly call “the best Parmo in the World.”