Ulster fry world champion reveals his secrets on traditional dish

The good old Ulster Fry is a firm favourite in most households - but how we like to eat it, can be quite controversial... for example, do you like - beans or no beans, brown or red sauce, soda bread or potato bread? Well, Stephen McDonald is the man who has all the answers about what makes a good one.

He's the Head Chef at Newtownards-based 'McKee's Country Store and Restaurant' which has won first place - in the first-ever 'Ulster Fry, World Championship', which was held as part of the Donaghadee summer festival.

The cook-off in the final involved four other contenders but McKee’s took the crown after impressing the judges with their locally- sourced ingredients – most of which were either reared on McKee’s farm or made in their home bakery – soda bread, potato bread, eggs, and sausages. The bacon which is not available on the farm, came from Kennedy’s in Omagh.

Stephen put the success down to the fact that they stayed true to the Ulster Fry using local ingredients and beef dripping.

The plateful has proved so popular that McKee’s dishes out five to six hundred of them every week.

“For us, a good Ulster Fry is about using our own in-house products, “ said Stephen. “It’s all about letting it caramelise but we’re also using our own beef dripping. As a child, my grandmother would say only use beef dripping and I’ve taken that on many years later.”

But his answer to the question of whether beans belong in an Ulster Fry is bound to put him straight from the frying pan into the foodie firing line.

“No beans,” said Stephen who led his team at McKee’s to success in the inaugural Ulster Fry world championships.

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