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Aberdeenshire man crowned winner of World Buttery Championship

An Aberdeenshire man who started making his own butteries when his village bakery closed has seen them named the “best in the world”.

Mark Barnett, who lives in New Pitsligo and works for the council’s roads department, defeated nine other entrants in the World Buttery Championship at North East Scotland College on Saturday.

The 48-year-old was cheered on by his wife Lorraine and their seven-year-old daughter Madison as he baked a dozen of the salty snacks for judges to sample.

Mr Barnett helps out at the Gold n Crispy café in New Pitsligo and started making butteries for the shop about four years ago.

He said: “When our local bakery shut we couldn’t get fresh butteries in the village, so I started making some for the café.

World Buttery Championship winner announced

“Now I’ll have to put a sign on the counter saying they are the best in the world.”

Mr Barnett explained that he relied on skills picked up as a baker in Banff after leaving school, but admitted to experiencing some nerve as the contest neared.

He added: “I hardly slept the night before and was up at 3am making a batch of butteries for the shop, so I am shocked to have won.

“There were a few others that I thought looked better than mine when I saw them coming out of the oven.”

Enticing smells wafted through the college kitchens as the 10 bakers prepared scores of rowies which were then tasted by four judges.

A crowd of onlookers gathered as the result was announced and Mr Barnett was presented with a specially carved granite plaque.

Steven Forbes, from Herd’s butcher in Aberdeen, came second using a recipe perfected by his grandfather, Gordon Forbes, in the 1930s.

One of the amateur entrants, Jacqui Cameron, took up making butteries after losing her job in the oil downturn as her husband is a huge fan of them.

Alan McPherson, from Cullen, spent his working life as a baker and has now retired – but the 72-year-old still regularly bakes butteries for friends.

Other entrants came from Dundee, Banff, Aberchirder, Ballater and Inverurie.

The competition was arranged by the Slow Food Aberdeen and Shire group to highlight traditional methods of making the north-east treat.

Event co-ordinator, Martin Gillespie, was one of the judges and said picking a winner had been “extremely difficult”.

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