The oven gloves are off in great stovie battle!

Chef Mark Heirs invites Cathy McInnes (left) and Nosheen Dsouza to taste his version of stovies
Chef Mark Heirs invites Cathy McInnes (left) and Nosheen Dsouza to taste his version of stovies

Dish up a splendid plate of stovies and you could find yourself dining out on the secret ingredient of your success.

The hunt is on to find the tastiest recipe for this favourite Scottish staple.

The important question is – do you use sausage or silverside, links or square ... or are you a corned beef fan?

The district’s preference will be revealed on Friday, August 9, when the great Stovie Challenge hits town.

Leading the hunt is Falkirk Delivers, in partnership with Falkirk Council’s community learning and development team, and it forms part of Bairnsfest 2013, a multi-cultural celebration.

Events begin this Saturday with an afternoon of music at the bandstand at the east end of the High Street.

Friday, August 9, has been earmarked as World Food Day when the oven gloves will come off as people are asked to share their recipes and battle for the stovie crown.

Sarah McKenzie, Falkirk Delivers assistant manager, said: “We’d like people to share their recipe or perhaps it’s a family secret! But we would ask them to bring their version of this delicious dish along in a thermos flask to the bandstand between noon and 3 p.m.”

Faced with the difficult task of judging is chef Mark Heirs from the Callendar Arms.

Admitting that it would be a tough job, Mark (27) said: “Stovies is a really personal thing. It’s a comfort food that the majority of people enjoy.

“The most traditional ingredient seems to be day-old roast beef but I’m a beef links person and use my mum’s recipe. We ate it a lot when I was younger – it was about the only thing my mum could cook!”

The winner will receive a chef’s jacket and knife, as well as a meal for two at the Callendar Arms.

Other events taking place during Bairnsfest include arts and crafts workshops and exhibitions in The Arts Place from Monday to Wednesday, and storytelling in a yurt village in the grounds of Falkirk Old and St Modan’s Church.

On Friday, the world market with food and crafts take place, while the event rounds off on Saturday, August 10 with a cultural parade.