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Fruit Pie Crowned The Country’s Best In 2011

JULY 27, 2011

Mince And Cheese Not So Plum As Fruit Pie Crowned The Country’s Best In 2011 Bakels Nz Supreme Pie Awards

A spiced plum, port and apple pie has knocked the classic meat pie off its perch, beating out a record 4,400 entries to take out the coveted title of the country’s top pie in the 2011 Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Awards.

This is only the second time in the award’s 15 year history that a Gourmet Fruit pie has won the Supreme pie award.

This year’s Supreme winning pie was made by baker Shane Kearns of Viands Bakery, of Kihikihi, on State Highway 3 near Te Awamutu in the King Country.

Shane Kearns’ win ended the dream run of pie maker Pat Lam, of Gold Star Patrick’s Pies in Tauranga and Rotorua, who has won the Supreme award four times including twice with a creamy bacon, mushroom and cheese pie.

And it was definitely a family team effort for the Viands Bakery with Shane making the pastry and wife, Kathy designing the filling. Kathy says the inspiration came to her in the middle of the night.

“I woke up and thought ‘right, port wine and plum’, so I woke Shane and told him, and he said, ‘Yes, plus apple.”

She said she designed the pie as a winter dessert.

“We moved here eight months ago from Hawkes Bay, and it is cold here. Our pie was inspired by winter. It also contains cinnamon, orange zest, vanilla paste and a lot of orange juice. I kept tasting and refining it as you can’t have the port wine too strong.”

The Kearns are part of a baking dynasty. Kathy’s parents, John and Linda Atwill own Osler’s Bakery, in Wairoa, and were a previous Supreme winner in 2002. Kathy’s two brothers are also part of the Wairoa bakery. The Atwills plan to move to Te Awamutu to join the Kearns’ two bakery operation in Te Awamutu and in Kihikihi.

The Kearns produce about 300 pies a day, including 18 different varieties. They have a loyal clientele of dairy farmers, plumbers, electricians “plus average Mums and Dads.”

The Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Awards are the country’s most high profile and popular food contest. This year’s awards attracted 4,400 entries, the highest ever number, from more than 380 bakeries across the nation.

More than 18 judges spent a mammoth day last Thursday (July 21) judging the pies which are blind coded in 11 categories: mince and gravy; steak, vegetables and gravy; steak and cheese; chicken and vegetables; gourmet meat; vegetarian; bacon and egg; mince and cheese; gourmet fruit; seafood and commercial wholesale.

Chief Judge Grant Wilson, who is owner and managing director of Maketu Pies, in the Bay of Plenty, said the standards were “way up” on last year. Grant has been making pies for 29 years and says Kiwis are “passionate” about pies.

“I think they are convenient and a good quality pie is a good snack or meal, especially if you are active. It’s just a real Kiwi thing.”

Grant Wilson believes the Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Awards have been a great boost for the industry.

“They keep pies at the forefront. The Pie Awards are a good Kiwi icon and I just think bakers are trying to give people better and better pies.”

Fellow Judge James Buckrell, of BJs Bakery chain in Hastings, agrees.

“The quality of pies was way up on last year. A lot of bakers have stepped up their act, and the flavours were really beautiful. All the people who won Gold Awards deserve to be there.”

James Buckrell said the Kearns’ Gourmet Fruit pie was a real stand out.

“It was a perfect looking pie in the way it was hand crafted. The flavours of plum and port wine did not overpower each other.”

James Buckrell also agrees that the Pie Awards have pushed the whole pie sector into the limelight and helped to push up the quality of Kiwi pies.

“Pies have stepped away from being a lower item into a gourmet item. Even the basic mince pie is a lot better than it was.”

Bakels NZ CEO and Pie Awards Judge Duncan Loney says he was delighted with the calibre of entries in this year’s awards. He also says the overall pie market remains buoyant, with Kiwis chomping their way through 75 million pies a year and the market worth in excess of $140 million a year.

Although Asian bakeries continued to dominate the entries and the winners’ list, this year also saw a strong resurgence from traditional Kiwi bakers.

The Gold Award winners were:

Mince and Gravy: Ian Holloway, Hollies Bakery, Hastings
Steak, Vegetables & Gravy: Jenny Ly, Penny Lanes Bakery, Onehunga;
Chicken & Vegetable: Neville Jackson, Jacksons Bakery & Café, Havelock North
Vegetarian: Bunnarith Sao, Dairy Flat Bakery, Albany
Bacon & Egg: Brent Hughes, Pukekohe Pak N Save
Mince & Cheese: Brent Hughes, Pukekohe Pak N Save
Steak & Cheese: Ian Holloway, Hollies Bakery, Hastings
Seafood: Brent Hughes, Pukekohe Pak N Save
Commercial/Wholesale: Murray Swetman, Gourmet Foods, Tauranga
Gourmet Fruit: Shane Kearns, Viands Bakery, Te Awamutu
Gourmet Meat: David Liem, Greenland Bakery & Café, Botany

The Supreme Pie Awards were announced at a dinner at the Rendezvous Hotel last night, (Tuesday, July 26). That Guy, Leigh Hart was the MC. He was joined on stage for the presentation of the awards by some of New Zealand best known foodies and celeb pie lovers.

Forty five awards were dished out, with the Supreme prize winner receiving $7,500 cash and the coveted Supreme Piemaker Trophy, while Gold award winners received $1,000 cash.


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