Bakel’s Pie Awards coming up in July

Last year there was shock, horror among passionate Kiwi pie lovers when a cheeky spiced plum, port and apple pie knocked the classic meat pie off its perch to win the coveted title of the country’s top pie at the 2011 Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Awards.

The 2012 Bakels Supreme Pie Awards will be announced on Tuesday, July 24 and already competitors of the hotly contested awards are busy sharpening up their knives and skills. And the question on everyone’s lips is ‘will a sweet pie triumph again?’ or will the perennial Kiwi favourite of savoury mince and cheese reassert itself onto the winner’s podium?

Last year’s supreme award winners, Shane and Kathy Kearns of Viands Bakery, of Kikikihi, near Te Awamatu, are tight lipped about whether they’re going to go sweet or savoury this year. Their winning pie last year was the result of a middle of the night inspiration for Kathy Kearns, when she woke up and thought “right, port wine and plum.” Husband Shane agreed but said “plus apple”.

The Kearns say winning the Supreme Pie Award did wonders for their confidence and also for their business. They went from a production run of 300 pies a day to up to 500 a day just after their win. And their business turnover has increased by a healthy 30 per cent during the past year.

Says Kathy: “That win totally helped us in all areas of our business, from our confidence to our turnover.”

One of the most enduring and endearing food contests in the country, the Pie Awards are now into their 16th year. The pie awards are judged in 12 categories, with a new category introduced this year: the café boutique category, to acknowledge the growing number of cafes serving a variety of tasty pies. However, the winner of the café boutique category will not be able to qualify for the 2012 Supreme Award.

Last year’s Chief Judge, Grant Wilson, who is owner and managing director of Maketu Pies, says the Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Awards have been a great boost for the industry.

“The Pie Awards are a great Kiwi icon and I just think bakers are trying to give people better and better pies. Kiwis are passionate about pies.”

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