David Barr has what many people would consider the perfect job – Aunt Bessie’s ‘Yorkshire Pudding Guru’.
He’s worked at the Hull factory for more than 26 years, and has tasted an incredible 18,000 puds during that time.
The unusual role sees him working with food scientists on manufacturing techniques, assisting with the operations team to check every Yorkshire is absolutely perfect and chatting to suppliers.
Unsurprisingly, David is a big, big fan of the Sunday roast favourite, and believes they are so popular in the UK because they make everyone think of special times with family and friends.
He says: “First and foremost it’s the unique taste followed immediately with the nostalgia that it brings to mind.
“That sentimental warm feeling that evokes memories of sitting around the dinner table as a family and declaring to everyone that “I made those Yorkshire puddings”.
“Family is important to me and sharing the day’s experiences along with a roast dinner is how I remember family life as a child and something I continue to share with my own children and grandchildren.”
But there is a more practical reason for his love of Yorkshires.
He explains: “It’s the anticipation and versatility of a Yorkshire pudding. You know it’s going to taste good and I always leave my Yorkshire pudding on the plate until last.
“It’s the pinnacle of the meal for me.
“Whether I’m mopping up my gravy with it or, would you believe, eating the Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire pudding bases as a flat bread with toppings of tomato sauce, chicken, mushrooms and a sprinkling of parsley while watching Saturday night TV, I always make sure Aunt Bessie is in my freezer.”
And working right in the heart of the factory, which makes 639,095,954 each year, means David knows exactly what makes the perfect pud.
He tells us: “Someone once told me “you eat with your eyes” and I think that’s very true so I look for a good sized pudding.
Texture and structure should be crisp on the top edge, softer bready side walls leading to a little soggy bottom. Just think of it like sliding into a lovely warm bubble bath and of course it has to hold my puddle of gravy inside.
“The world is full of Yorkshire pudding experts and each one will have their own recipe or secret as to what makes a great Yorkshire pudding. I think there’s probably some truth in all of their opinions and all the old wife’s tales that rise up over the years.
“Like the science there are the many thoughts of the “expert” chefs of what a Yorkshire pudding should look like, its taste, texture and structure. Its one person’s opinion versus the rest of the world but one thing is for sure, you need the right ingredients, in the right proportions poured into a baking tray at the right volume and baked uninterrupted for the right amount of time.”
David doesn’t think he’ll ever get sick of Yorkshires, and he has some unusual recipes for them.
“It was a core part of our Sunday roasts as a child, and sometimes we would have the Yorkshire puddings as a starter with lashings of onion gravy.
“Roast dinners have also been important in bringing the family together, and my childhood is filled with memories of helping to whisk the batter with my mother’s help.
“When asked what my favourite way to serve a Yorkshire pudding is, I’m torn. It’s equivalent to asking which of your children is your favourite.
“I still find myself stuck between the roast, toad in the hole, or my childhood favourite of syrupy Yorkshires.”
Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire pudding range celebrates its 25th birthday this year, and David has been there every step of the way.
The company was set up in 1995 when Aunt Bessie’s then-parent company was asked to supply Butlins’s holiday camps with frozen Yorkshire puddings.
“To have been on this journey for that length of time, it’s a testament to the great Yorkshire Puds we produce as well as the nation’s clear love for them.