We’re proud to introduce the finalists in the Cuisine Artisan Awards category at the New Zealand Food Awards. And the winner is... Beard Brothers Pork & Cress Sausages.

Here Rob Beard of Beard Brothers tells us how their prize-winning Pork & Cress Sausages came into being.

Lead judge Fiona Smith was particular­ly impressed by the flavour profile of our winning entry. “What a crowd pleaser – the humble sausage is elevated with the clever addition of watercress to Beard Brothers free-range pork sausage, making it an instant Kiwi classic. It’s a simple but perfect combinatio­n of rich, succulent pork cut through with the pepperines­s of the watercress. All the judges agreed it was a winning combinatio­n.”

So how did this tempting flavour combinatio­n come into being? Rob Beard tells us the whole story. “The idea for our pork and cress sausage came from one of our young sons. I often take all three boys hunting on the weekends. We shot a deer and my middle son, Ned, spotted some watercress in a creek on our way back to the hut. So we get back to the hut and I bang a leg of venison in the camp oven while Ned sorts the cress. A few hours later we are scoffing our faces with the most tender venison ever and this incredible flavoursom­e watercress. Between mouthfuls of goodness Ned pipes up, ‘Dad, you should put this in a sausage.’ Boom… lightbulb moment, right there. I lay in my bunk that night fizzing with excitement. I knew this would be epic if we could bring it to the market but use free-range pork instead of venison, and from there the pork and cress sausage was born.

“To make this sausage we needed a good commercial supply of clean, trusted watercress. I spent hours on Google and ringing around all parts of New Zealand trying to find a good reputable supplier of watercress but just couldn’t crack it. I was telling our onion supplier about our dilemma and out of the blue he tells me about a young guy and his wife who have set up a small hydroponic business supplying microgreen­s to restaurant­s and a couple of supermarke­ts, and they were trialling hydroponic watercress. It just so happens they are two minutes from our plant. I was there like a rocket and we now have a steady supply of the most incredible watercress ever. This was paramount to the whole idea and I blimmin near cried when I knew this was going to work... when you obsess over something and can’t see a way forward but keep on driving hard for the result it just feels so incredible to achieve it once you get there!” beardbroth­

 ?? ?? Rob Beard of Beard Brothers: I’m a pretty determined fella and this [project] was starting to really consume me.
Rob Beard of Beard Brothers: I’m a pretty determined fella and this [project] was starting to really consume me.

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