An emotional tribute was made as a Teesside restaurateur accepted the award as winner of the 2019 World Parmo Championships.
In a cook-off of the final four, Stockton’s Borge restaurant was the highest rated among the eight-strong judging panel.
Owner Fash Khalili dedicated the win to his former head chef Craig Wilson who sadly died earlier this year, saying “this is for him”.
He said: “I feel absolutely over the moon – really glad. I want to thank all my customers, all my voters and everyone who supported us because without them we wouldn’t be here.
“But most of all I want to thank Craig Wilson my head chef who unfortunately passed away – this is for him.”
Asked for the secret of a good parmo Fash said: “Good ingredients. Taking time over the béchamel and cooking with love and passion.”
Borge took the title in a fiercely thought final against The George in Stockton, Middlesbrough’s Manjaro’s and The Open Jar who have outlets in Norton and Hartlepool.
The event took place in the refurbished fire station of Middlesbrough Town Hall and was judged by Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston, BBC Tees presenter Scott Makin, Teesside sprint athlete Richard Kilty, Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen, Masterchef semi-finalist Annabel Broome, darts player Glen Durrant, Craig Dobson from the Parmo Bites Facebook page and Lauren Barnes who was picked from a list of public nominees to judge.
Mayor Preston said: “It was brilliant. The winner was a popular choice but the standard was exceptional.
“We will build on this and make it bigger and better and even more fun next year.”
Fellow judge Durrant added: “It exceeded my expectations and the winner was my choice also. There was a brilliant atmosphere and I’ve had a great time.”
Borge is one of Stockton’s oldest restaurants and has been running for 36 years.
Craig Wilson joined in 1989 and won the World Parmo Championships for Borge for three years running in 2014, 2015 and 2016 but sadly died this year aged 50.
A total of 30 restaurants took part in the 2019 World Parmo Championships with the furthest entrant coming from Brisbane in Australia.
A public vote was held via www.lovemiddlesbrough.com to find the final four to be put before the judges.