Chef’s Dish: Lesley Draper talks to Mr Pickles’ Paul Widdowson

Mr Pickles' Burgers
Mr Pickles' Burgers

Saturday is Yorkshire Day – a great excuse to celebrate the best of our home-grown produce. And nowhere is better qualified to lead the festivities than Mr Pickles’, a specialist in locally-sourced food.

Paul Widdowson set up his Yorkshire Food Emporium on Abbeydale Road a year ago, stocking dozens of food and drink products grown or prepared within the Yorkshire boundaries.

Paul Widdowson - Mr Pickles' Yorkshire Food Emporium

Paul Widdowson - Mr Pickles' Yorkshire Food Emporium

“I’m a strong believer in supporting local businesses and with over 5,000 food and drink businesses in Yorkshire I knew we’d be able to offer a unique and interesting range of produce,” says Paul. “So deciding to only stock produce from here was an easy call for me.”

With this ethos, every day is about celebrating Yorkshire at Mr Pickles’, but Saturday will be marked in appropriate style...

“We’re having a party for Yorkshire Day and everyone’s invited!” says Paul.

“We want to show off the very best food and drink that Yorkshire has to offer so we’re holding Meet the Producer sessions and handing out free samples – we’ll even have free painting for the kids.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to show that Yorkshire food isn’t just about provenance, it tastes good too.”

Mr Pickles’ stocks a surprising range: from beef to buffalo, cheese to chorizo, lemongrass to lemon tart ice cream. But the shop is probably best known for its butcher’s counter.

“Because we’re committed to using Yorkshire produce, our customers have absolute confidence in the meat we sell. We only source from high welfare farms and everything, apart from the poultry, is from Sheffield.

“We buy in the whole of the animal so we often have unusual cuts that aren’t readily available. Our knowledge of different cuts is something we pride ourselves on.”

Popular right now is pichana steak, from the top of the rump section; also the flank – both great on the barbecue.

Paul’s burgers are a big draw...

“One of our customers recommended we try oyster sauce in the mix and we’ve used it ever since. It adds a little umami while replacing the need for salt, which can dry meat out. We have a few other tricks up our sleeves too – like chopping the onions very finely and having a good level of fat running through, to keep the burgers juicy and add extra flavour.”

Paul adds: “They’re quite simple to make but they’re really tasty, which just goes to show that good food starts with good ingredients. I like to serve them in plain white breadcakes with a little homemade relish – and my triple-cooked chips!”

Recipe by Paul Widdowson: Mr Pickles’ Burgers


(makes 5-6 burgers)


500g beef, for mincing

100g beef fat

Half a red onion

Half a handful of flat parsley leaves

1 tblsp oyster sauce

1 tblsp tomato ketchup


8 medium tomatoes

Half a red onion

Half a red pepper

Red bird’s eye chilli

1 clove garlic

Tomato purée

Salt & sugar, to taste


1.2 kg floury potatoes

Oil, for frying



Chop the beef and fat into chunks and mince them twice (ask your butcher to do this).

Finely chop the red onion and parsley leaves.

Add to the minced beef and fat.

Add the oyster sauce and the tomato sauce.

Using your hands, mix the ingredients together and form individual burgers.

Heat a frying pan until very hot, add a little oil and turn down to medium.

Fry the burgers for about 3 minutes on each side.


Finely slice half a red onion and fry gently for 5 minutes.

Finely slice the red pepper and chilli and add to the pan.

Let the ingredients sweat until softened.

Add a crushed clove of garlic and the tomatoes, chopped, with a squirt of purée.

Stir everything together and cook gently until it forms a thick sauce.

Add salt and sugar to taste and allow to cool before serving with the burgers..


Peel and chop the potatoes into chips. Soak in cold water for 10-15 minutes.

Drain and add chips to a pan of boiling water. Simmer for 5-8 minutes.

Drain the chips, cool and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a deep fat-fryer or pan to 130ºC and fry the chips for 3-4 minutes.

Remove and drain on kitchen roll, then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Just before you want to serve, increase the oil to 180ºC and fry chips for another 3-4 minutes, or until golden.

Drain and serve.