THE Tees Valley mayor is hoping to put the ‘parmo’ on menus around the world.

Ben Houchen launched a campaign today calling for protected status for the Teesside dish.

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Mr Houchen, who orders his own parmos from Mario’s in Ingleby Barwick, hopes to secure the Protected Designation of Origin accolade for the delicacy.

His crusade took him to Jeff the Chef’s Middlesbrough factory, where parmesans are made and delivered to supermarkets across the country.

The parmo, which is said to have originated in Teesside, is flattened and breadcrumbed chicken breast smothered in bechamel sauce and topped with cheese.

Jeff the Chef parmos have around 800 calories each while the average takeaway version can have up to 2,000.

When asked if the dish was contributing to rising levels of obesity on Teesside, Mr Houchen said calorific content was no reason to ignore the merits of the dish, pointing out that other items with DPO – such as champagne – could be harmful if not consumed in moderation.

He said: “We need to officially protect the provenance of this local delicacy and must make it abundantly clear that the genuine article is only from Teesside.

“The parmo was invented on Teesside and should only be made on Teesside.

“Securing PDO status would mean that people would know they were getting the real deal when eating a parmo.”

A full report with reaction will follow.