Sarah Heward Competes in The Great Sausage Roll Off

Sarah Heward Competes in The Great Sausage Roll Off

For sausage roll fans, The Great Sausage Roll Off is the greatest culinary competition of the year. And for Sarah, our owner and director, an exciting challenge she couldn't let slip by. 

And so, just a few minutes before midnight on 7th February 2023, Sarah boarded the Caledonian Sleeper train in Tyndrum (population of only 135) to travel down to London Euston to take part in The Great Sausage Roll Off at The Red Lion pub in Barnes. 

The contest, organised by the London pub's managers, Angus McKean and Claire Morgan, since 2013, challenges chefs to create the best sausage roll in the land.  The competition is open to chefs from all backgrounds, with no specific entry criteria – just a thoughtful recipe, with a twist of passion and a whole lot of love. 

The competition returned after nearly three years of no sausage rolling and Sarah, who entered the content for the first time, was excited to be the only contestant representing Scotland & The Real Food Cafe. She was determined to showcase some of the wonderful produce the Scottish larder has to offer. 

Not only is The Great Sausage Roll Off a magnet for foodies, hospitality's shining stars & connoisseurs, but it also has a more noble purpose. The whole event is organised as a fundraiser for industry charity Hospitality Action

On the night of the competition, Sarah and 15 other 2023 The Great Sausage Roll Off contestants assembled at the pub to cook up their sausage rolls and present them to the panel of judges and the general public. Samples of the finished product were auctioned off to the crowd (along with some other big prizes), raising even more money for Hospitality Action.

Sarah Heward from The Real Food Cafe with her venison sausage rolls at the Great Sausage Roll Off Event

The panel of judges consisted of Chef Daniel Clifford, Chef Pip Lacey, Chef Simon Rimmer, UKH CEO Kate Nicholls OBE and Broadcaster James O’Brien. The competition was hosted by award-winning beer and food writer Melissa Cole.

Sarah decided to prepare venison, black pudding & juniper berry sausage roll with beetroot and chilli ketchup. The ingredients used in this recipe were sourced from:

Serving the roll with the beetroot and chilli ketchup was inspired by Moor of Rannoch Restaurant & Rooms where Sarah stayed last year and whose ketchup recipe it is. 

Sarah says: "I'm taking part because it looks like great fun, I love cooking, Scotland has a great larder and it's for a wonderful cause, Hospitality Action. I couldn't do any of this without the support of my husband, Alan, and our amazing team who are all behind me. Cat Dima, who did all of the recipe development and prep, Carolyn McGill from Forth Valley Food and Drink and Wendy Barry from Scottish Food Guide who are both food doyens and great supporters."

Even though, Sarah didn't win she had a fantastic time. She says: "I was very happy with the finished entry which was put in front of an all star panel of judges. Whilst we didn't win on this occasion, I must say that I found the whole event very uplifting after several challenging years.

Taking part reminded me of all the things I love about hospitality. The atmosphere, community, the camaraderie, the incredible food and creativity, the generosity of spirit in so many people. There was a lot of love for me having travelled so far and as the only entrant from north of the border, also for brand Scotland."

The Great Sausage Roll Off Judging Panel

Sarah also sent her thanks to the event sponsors without whom the event would have not taken place. They were IO Shen Knives, Netherton Foundry, Rational UK, Fuller’s, Asahi UK, Doghouse Distillery, Sipsmith Distillery, Barratt Boards and Gabriela Austin. 
Sarah Heward from The Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum with Her venison sausages at the Great Sausage Roll Off
Sarah Heward (official photo from the Great Sausage Roll Off)

The winner of the 2023 Roll Off was Mat Follas from Bramble Restaurant in Sherborne, Dorset, who prepared local pork sausage meat from Parsons Butchers in Sherborne, slow cooked onions, bacon and a secret spice mix, topped with a pork crackling crumb and served with Mat’s Sunday Roast gravy for dipping. Mat, who is a previous Masterchef winner and who also entered the competition twice before, served his sausage roll with a bottle of his Blackberry liqueur to finish.

Sarah with Mat Follas

The Great Sausage Roll Off will return in 2024, will Sarah be back? "Hell yes, if they'll have me!"

Learn more about the 2023 The Great Sausage Roll Off at