The man responsible for the world’s first vegetarian black pudding, the V Pud, Andy is the owner of RS Ireland (The Real Lancashire Black Pudding Company). Rather than blood, Andy uses beetroot and caramel for the colouring, with GM-free whey and soya powders for the protein.
He happily admits that he first began making the veggie version largely for PR purposes but it has really taken off. Chef Simon Rimmer has championed the V Pud and used it when he appeared on the BBC2 series The Great British menu. Other chefs have also proven to be very keen on it as it gives them greater scope for variety when using it in their dishes.
When Andy first made the veggie black pudding, he put it to the test by taking it to his local pub and asking the landlady to slice it up and fry it for the regulars. It was duly scoffed and enjoyed. When Andy asked them, “How were black pudding tonight, lads?” he was met with a chorus of satisfaction. Some faces fell when Andy told them what they had eaten but it was enough to let him know he was on to a winner.
The V Pud pudding remains a sideline however and Andy’s real pride remains his original black puddings made with a family recipe dating back to 1879. Andy’s puddings, made at his HQ in Rossendale, have won nearly 150 awards across Europe, including being crowned British Champion at Mortagne-au-Perche and winning the Grand Prix D’Excellence on a number of occasions. Andy has also won gold medals at Europe’s two other most prestigious competitions in Austria and Belgium.
In 1999 Andy was sworn in as a Chevalier du Gôute-Boudin and he has maintained close links with other black pudding knights, most notably fellow innovator Franz Dormayer.
It could all have been so different though because when Andy began as an apprentice butcher at the age of 17, he hated black pudding and freely admits that he “thought it was disgusting.” However after being introduced to it properly by his former father-in-law, a butcher rejoicing in the name of Black Pudding Joe, he finally tasted the delicacy and fell in love with it. Andy now travels the world tasting, making and learning about black pudding. traditional Bury-type black puddings containing pearl barley.