2012 Competitors

Stefan Aufleger, Germany
Stefan is from the southern German town of Mainz and has worked as a cook & chef in Munich, Berlin, Spain and the Bahamas. His passions apart from his adorable wife and four lovely daughters include travelling and sailing. He and his wife Andrea opened the hotel & restaurant Tafelfreuden (which roughly translated means Joy of the Table) in Oldenberg, Germany 25 years ago.  Together they have weathered the often stormy waters of the restaurant & hotel trader to establish Tafelfreuden as one of the leading restaurants in the area with a special focus on regional organic ingredients & dishes and social responsibility. In addition Stefan founded the Oldenburg branch of the Slow Food movement.

Benedict Horsbrugh, Germany
Ben, is an expatriot living in Oldenburg, Germany.  Originally from the UK, Ben moved to Germany in 1992 to work as an organic baker.  As an expat Ben has maintained his British roots (which in fact stretch back to Scotland where his ancestor Simon de Horsbrug built Horsbrugh Castle, now a ruin on the Estate of Glen House, near Peebles) by cooking porridge for himself and his three daughters as a good and solid start to the day.  And it his three daughters who convinced him he should put his experience to the test by participating in the Golden Spurtle. After working in the fruit and veg trade for the past twenty years, Ben is now the Director of Quality Management for the company UNIVEG, one of the world’s major fruit and vegetable marketing companies, and still depends on porridge to give him the energy to manage the challenges the job presents to him.

John Boa, Scotland
The 2011 Golden Spurtle Champion looks forward to returning to Carrbridge to defend his title. Originally from Strathglass, Inverness-shire, John has lived in Edinburgh for the past 30 years. His interests include reading, cycling, learning gaelic and gaelic singing.  After taking early redundancy earlier this year, John spent 3 months travelling, visiting Thailand, Australia and America.  John has now become a student again, enrolled at Sabhal Mor Ostaig College, Isle of Skye.

Dr/Mrs Rowan Ellis, Scotland/USA
Rowan moved to rural Aberdeenshire from Seattle, USA in 2009 to take up a job as a research fellow and lecturer in Geography at the University of Aberdeen. For Rowan, the best way to explore a new place is through food and porridge has been no exception.  As a child growing up in rainy Southeast Alaska, porridge was a stable breakfast around the house. As such, Rowan associates porridge with cosy winter mornings and her mother’s nurturing through food.  The long Scottish winters and Rowan’s preference for breakfast foods, and a desire to embrace local cuisine/produce have reignited her love for porridge.  Rowan describes herself as a self-professed breakfast activist and would prefer to entertain at the breakfast table over a dinner party any day!

Nikolaj Baek, Denmark
Nikolaj is from Copenhagen, Denmark and has been a chef for the last 7 years.  Nikolaj is now head chef at Grods, the porridge bar in Copenhagen.

Charlotte Turner , England
A breakfast lover,  living and working in Hertfordshire.  Each night Charlotte goes to bed looking forward to the best meal of the day.  Her grandfather, Dr Aitken Donaldson was Glasgow born and raised, and extolled the virtues of the humble oat.  Charlotte is somewhat sceptical about “flash-in-the-pans” super foods and favours porridge as a yummy low-GI food, helping to fuel her active lifestyle and, is great for her insulin resistance.  Apart from trying out new recipes on friends, passions include nutrition, fitness and photography.  Working for an independent jeweller and goldsmith, Charlotte puts her creative talents to use designing and styling photo shoots for businesses.  Charlotte would love to have her own business one day, and if it were to involve food, her speciality porridge would have a starring role on the menu.

Lasse Skjønning, Denmark

Lasse, from Denmark, has been in love with porridge and experimenting with porridge for many years.  In 2011, Lasse opened the Grod porridge bar in Copenhagen offering different kinds of porridge dishes – all from Danish classics and Asian savoury rice porridge chicken congee.  In between running the business, Lasse is writing a cook book and has been on national television as a chef making porridge.

Nick Barnard, England
Nick, is one of the founders of Rude Health, the Outspoken Natural Food Company.  When not ranting about such crucial issues as bad coffee or watery milk, Nick is off flying stunt planes (or writing about flying).  Nick Barnard is chief porridge maker.  Self-titled “English Porridge Champion” following last year’s Golden Spurtle, Nick (& Rude Health) is on a mission to bring the World Championship crown darn’ south in 2012.

Laurie Figone, USA
Laurie is excited to be representing Bob’s Red Mill—the 2009 Golden Spurtle champions and makers of the World’s Best Oatmeal™ —in this year’s competition. Laurie is a native of California, and her passion for food is rooted in memories of family dinners at the multi-generational dairy ranch where she grew up. She started cooking at a young age and learned a lot by spending time in the kitchen with her mother and grandmother. Laurie’s love of cooking has led her to victory in many cooking competitions, including the 2012 Bob’s Red Mill Spar for the Spurtle recipe contest. When she is not competing, she hosts her own TV show, “Cooking with Laurie,” which showcases foods grown and produced locally in Northern California.

Kate Clark, Scotland
After searching for her dream home in the country for many years Kate and her husband David moved to Carrbridge 3 years ago. Together they renovated the old School into luxury self catering accommodation.  As well as running the business Kate is also Practice Nurse  and has a very hectic schedule, spending as much time as she can with her year old granddaughter. A farmer’s daughter from Aberdeenshire with 5 siblings, porridge was the only choice on the breakfast table. Her mother, a cookery teacher taught her from a very young age using her secret family recipe!

Ian Bishop, Scotland

Hostel & Cycle shop owner and ski instructor, Carrbridge Scotland
Ian is a local competitor and past World Champion in 2008. Ian uses organic products from a Golspie mill and uses water from his own freshwater borehole and abides by the adage of: “practice practice practice.” Ian has threatened to retire from competitive porridge making but we are pleased to welcome this larger than life local character.

Neal Robertson, Scotland
Neal is the man with his name on both trophies having won the Golden Spurtle in 2010 and the Speciality Porridge section in 2011.  Neal even sports a champion tattoo! There is simply no stopping Neal’s love of food and competitions.  In between running the very popular Tannochbrae Tearoom in Auchtermuchty, Neal has been competing in the World Jam Making Championship and the World Stovie Championship as well as promoting & selling his unique stirring implement the Spon.  (Available to purchase)  So some competitors might think that Neal will be burnt out this year; well from what we know of Neal, they should think again!

Simon Rookyard, England
A 22 year old PhD student, studying pulsars at University of Manchester.  When not pondering the universe, Simon keeps busy playing in the Tyldesley Prize Band and cycling across south Lancashire. Since last year’s Golden Spurtle, Simon has been in serious training, conducting (and tasting) research into what makes the perfect porridge.

Anna Louise Batchelor, England
Anna Louise would say she is obsessed by oats and is known as the “Porridge Lady”.  Since early childhood Anna Louise has eaten porridge and continues to do so because she thinks it is the best breakfast; healthy, affordable, part of our culinary heritage.  Trained as an environmental scientist and now working in food but sustainable, local organic food with such organisations as the Soil Association.  Oats are of particular interest as they are a sustainable crop to grow in the British climate and soils. Anna Louise won the Speciality Porridge section in 2009 but still has her eye on the elusive Golden Spurtle!

Lennart Svahn, Sweden
Lennart works in a fully working mill built in 1709 and is the only mill in the world producing skradmjol – a roasted flour dating back to the 17thcentury. Lennart roasts, hulls and grinds the oats while his wife Kerstein weighs and packages the finished product for sale to supermarket chains. Lennart has been training the last year looking to perfect his making of traditional Scottish porridge

Debby Lyons, Sweden.
Nordic Porridge Making Champion 2012. Lives in Ransbysatter and is a small scale farmer.