THE lives of two Teesside men have been transformed thanks to their love of the Parmo.
Craig Dobson and Stephen Bliss are now known as the the so called Parmo Hunters after setting up a Facebook site which gave a ratings guide to the best Parmo.
It was actually meant as a joke when Craig and Stephen went online with the Facebook-Page but within only a few days their site gathered thousands of fans.
Overwhelmed by this amount of hits the two friends instantly decided to take things more seriously.
Their search for the best Parmo has now led them to more than 100 restaurants and take-aways in the Teesside area.
And the ongoing Parmo-reviews on their homepage and on Facebook now have an audience of over 16,000 fans.
Regardless of the location, the Parmo Hunters are looking for good Parmos everywhere. Normally they hunt at least once or twice a week. But when they are engulfed by their passion, Parmo hunting can be on the menu five to six times a week.
Within the whole Teesside area it is believed there are more than 2,500 restaurants that serve their favourite dish.
“We have done about 100 within our first year, so we still have a couple of years left for testing,”Stephen said.
Although being a Parmo Hunter is living out a passion, the responsibility that goes along with the position has its down side.
“It´s a gamble, sometimes you are starving for some great Parmos and you know where they are, but your business is to write a review for the fans, so we have to hope for the best.” Craig said.
The rating system of the Parmo Hunters equates a scientific discipline; freshness is the main criteria of their rating system accompanied by the taste, the texture and consistency of the béchamel sauce and whether the chips are home-made or deep-frozen.
Weighing up all those factors with the price and the size of the Parmo as well as waiting time until they receive the order, Stephen and Craig give stars from zero to five.
Like real hunters, Craig and Stephen never let their prey know that it is going to be hunted.
They conduct anonymous visits to the restaurants and take-aways and only leave their cards or one of their stickers to point out that they hunted down the local Parmo.
“Those visits guarantee that the restaurants cannot prepare especially for us and it sets up the same rules for all the Parmos we are going to test,” Stephen said.
The most prestigious moment in their career so far was being selected as the judges for the World Parmo Championship. The pair sat with the Mayor of Stockton to choose the winner.
The Parmo Hunters will release their parmo-app this year to give their fans and friends the opportunity to get their own Parmo Hunter experience.