Hospitality Business Magazine

The hunt is on for New Zealand’s best pie

pie_awards_2014_supreme_award_winner_michael_kloeg_-_the_clareville_bakery[2]Pie makers around the country are rolling up their sleeves as they prepare to compete in the 19th annual Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Awards.

With a deliciously exciting new award category along with a new celebrity judge, the 2015 competition promises to be a hot one.  Joining the panel of expert judges this year is top NZ chef, food columnist and author Martin Bosley who is thrilled to be part of the country’s largest food contest.

Bosley says as the most egalitarian of dishes, it is unsurprising Kiwis have an enduring love affair with the humble pie. “For a brief moment in time, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, nothing else matters when you have a decent pie. Whether it’s a crisp pastry base soaked with sauce or gravy, with a burnished, golden pastry top, or, an open one with a creamy filling over a soft under crust. A pie can be a classic or something with a modern twist, something new yet familiar with a filling that both delights and surprises.”

This year’s pie awards also introduces a new award category for all to enter – the iconically Kiwi favourite Potato Top Pie.

With entries being judged across 12 categories, and 49 awards to be won, Bakels Managing Director and judge Brent Kersel says the level of competition heightens every year. “The pie awards have become the premier event for New Zealand bakers,” says Brent.  “Last year we had the highest number of entries in the awards’ history with 5000 pies from 533 bakeries submitted from all over the country.

“We are forecasting to better this year’s figure with 6000 pie entries from 550 bakeries,” says Kersel. “And, we’re expecting a greater number of those entries to come from our South Island bakers.”

Tim Aspinall – pie award veteran, Chief Judge for three-years and Head of the North Shore International Academy – says expectations are running high for the calibre of entries expected.

“Since the awards’ inception, we have really seen a change in trends,” says Aspinall. “The level of creativity continues to pleasantly surprise with each competition. 

The pies, which are all coded for “blind judging”, will be judged in the following categories: mince and gravy; steak; steak and cheese; chicken and vegetables; gourmet meat; vegetarian; bacon and egg; mince and cheese; gourmet fruit; café boutique; potato top pie; and commercial wholesale.

What pie will win the judges’ hearts and taste buds is anyone’s guess. Will it be the new potato top pie, a classic mince and cheese or will a sweet pie reign again?   Ultimately the winning pie will need to meet a stringent list of criteria where presentation, flavour, colouration and texture are paramount.

The baker of the Supreme pie will take away the coveted Supreme Pie Maker trophy and $7,500 cash, while Gold award winners receive $1000 cash.

Winners of the 2015 Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Award will be announced at a gala dinner at Shed 10 on Tuesday 21 July.