Meet the Sheffield sauce fan on a one-man mission to educate the tastebuds of Londoners.
Henderson’s Relish lover Tony Middleton enjoys the spicy Yorkshire sauce so much he took bottles of the stuff with him when he moved to the capital for work several years ago.
It was a hit with housemates, colleagues and even Sheffield music favourites Arctic Monkeys – as a pie company begged to use his rare supply when they catered for the band.
And now the 36-year-old is hoping to spread the legend of Hendo’s even further, by shipping 500 units to the Big Smoke for clients.
Tony, who lives in Chapeltown, said: “I’ve always liked Henderson’s because of living in Sheffield and having it on stews and pies.
“When I was headhunted to work in London I took some with me, one bottle for the house where I lived in a house share and another for the office - everyone loved it.
“Then they started saying ‘can you bring us some back?’
“One of my clients worked for the Square Pie franchise and she rang one day to ask if I still had that bottle of Henderson’s, she sounded really urgent.
“It turned out the Arctic Monkeys were in town and wanted Henderson’s on their pie, but she couldn’t get any anywhere.
“I told her it would cost her because about 10 of us in the office wanted pie and a taxi came around with our food and to collect the Henderson’s for the Arctic Monkeys.
“It’s my claim to fame now.”
Tony set up his own business called Office Compliance Management after returning to Sheffield in 2008.
Now he has hatched a plan to treat his customers to the ultimate Christmas present, by ordering each a bottle of the Steel City favourite.
He added: “I sent a bottle down to one of my clients in London to test the waters, she got it at 11am and it was gone by 2pm.
“Apparently everyone was talking about it, but you can only buy it up north.
“I am on a mission to re-educate the tastebuds of London - the Arctic Monkeys love it, apparently Sean Bean does and the Everly Pregnant Brothers sing about it.
“If you just send a Christmas card then it has gone, but with a bottle of Henderson’s everytime they use it it is a bit of brand awareness.”
From Hong Kong to Heston Blumenthal’s pub kitchen – Hendo’s has a legion of supporters around the world.
In Sheffield artist Pete McKee, musicians Richard Hawley, Joe Cocker and politicians Nick Clegg and David Blunkett are said to love a splash of the black stuff on their dinners.
Further afield, it is shipped in one litre plastic containers to locations less likely to have it on the shelves of the local shop.
Online, there are 35,000 fans of the brand on Facebook and chefs such as Marco Pierre White have given it a try.
The only person who did not seem to like it was South London MP Jim Dowd – who sparked controversy when he accused it of copying Lea & Perrins’ Worcestershire Sauce last year. However, even he seemed to change his mind after visiting the historic firm’s factory in Darnall.
Pat Burn, general manager at Henderson’s Relish factory based on Parkway Rise, said: “We just love all our fans. They are fantastic ambassadors for Henderson’s Relish all over the world.
“I don’t think anyone can have such a loved heritage product; we sometimes say we are guardians of the company for the people of Sheffield.
“We ship it to specialist butchers in western Australia, to France, Spain and New Zealand.
“There’s a guy in Hong Kong who keeps in touch and sends us pictures. Nick Clegg is a great supporter and Katie Melua the singer also loves it.
“Marco Pierre White came to Sheffield recently for the opening of his new restaurant and thought it was wonderful and we sent some down to the Crown run by Heston Blumenthal in Berkshire a couple of years ago.
“We are everywhere and in future are working towards trying to get more wholesalers to take on our product so we can sell it on to more smaller shops all over England.”