It’s Official: The Future Of The Aussie Pie Is In ...

It’s Official: The Future Of The Aussie Pie Is In Good Hands

Hundreds of pies and, for the first time, sausage rolls, were judged across four days of stiff competition at Fine Food Australia with Mount Barker Country Bakery stealing the show.

Bakers from across Australia converged in Melbourne in September to vie for the most sought after award in their industry; The Official Great Aussie Pie Competition.

The competition was judged by a team of 16 respected bakers from around the country, including trainers and past-competition winners. There were 13 categories of pies appraised, including overall plain pie, overall gourmet pie, poultry, game, seafood, vegetarian, gluten-free, brekkie and apple. Two new categories were added to this years’ line up; sausage roll and the John Ross most innovative pie, dedicated to the competition’s founder.

In a first for the 25-year-old competition, one talented baker took home the two most coveted awards; the Overall Winner Plain Pie and the Overall Winner Gourmet Pie, along with 10 gold medals.

Mount Barker Country Bakery husband and wife team, Michael Dumbrell and Christine Porter, won an award for every pie they entered in the competition for their sweet chili chicken, surf and turf, and pork belly with rice pie.

Chief judge Mike French (AB Mauri) said Mount Barker Country Bakery has been improving its pies for years and is confirmation regional bakeries are setting the benchmark for quality bakery products.

“When you take Mount Baker, Denmark Bakery, Miami Bakehouse and Pinjarra Bakery in Western Australia, and then places like Beechworth Bakery in Victoria, these country bakeries have a certain energy to them and I think because they are dealing with locals in every sense of the word, I do think they try harder to make a product the locals like,” he said.

“And, I’d say they have a bit more time to concentrate on the products, whereas, in busier areas you tend to focus more on making the product and getting it out the door. There is a lot of heritage involved in the local bakery in regional areas, and they have a lot of pride about their product – they are a part of the town.

“Western Australia is also a big country town and you’ll find there is a lot of camaraderie between bakeries over there.”

As for the competition’s inaugural sausage roll award, Mike said several creative entries have prompted the judges to consider a gourmet category next year.

“The criteria was set for a standard sausage roll; beef, pork or a combination of meat with little bit of onion, seasoning and so on, with great pastry. Even though there was some good looking stuff there, many entries had a lot of vegetables, a lot of carrot, onions and potato – a lot were a bit over the top,” he said.

“But, who’s to say what a standard sausage roll is? We need to think about this.”

Competition manager Danielle Wooldridge said the industry recognises competing in and winning medals at this well-publicised event does wonders for business.

“This competition has, on many occasions, turned small pie producers into incredibly successful businesses. This year we had so much interest from the media there is no doubt locals will be rushing into these businesses to try the winning pies,” she said.

“Both Channel Nine and Channel Seven were all over it – media coverage like is priceless.”

With the competition growing in popularity every year, Danielle said a record amount of pies were entered this year, along with a spectacular array of sausage rolls.

“Australia is a diversified multicultural country and this is displayed through the type of pies being entered by bakers of all nationalities. The biggest winner of this competition is definitely the general public.”

And, for the bakers themselves, Mike said the information is out there to be crowned a 2015 winner.

“There’s a PowerPoint on The Official Great Aussie Pie Competition website to see some of the faults in pie making and so on. How to make a great pie isn’t a secret, people just need to ask the question from their local representatives in the industry, because usually they are stewards or judges in the competition and they are more than happy to give advice,” he said.

Congratulations to the prizewinners for 2014:
• Overall Winner Plain Pie (Mince Pie): Mount Barker Country Bakery, Mount Barker, WA
• Overall Runner Up Plain Pie (Mince Pie): Bread Provisions, Wangara, WA
• Overall Winner Gourmet Pie (Pork Pie): Mount Barker Country Bakery, Mount Barker, WA
• Winner Sausage Roll: Hope Bakery Sovereign Hill, Golden Point, VIC
• The John Ross Most Innovative Pie: Fancy Pants Goat Pie, Goat Pie Guy, Sandgate, QLD
• Red Meat Category Winner: Pork Pie, Mount Barker Country Bakery, Mount Barker, WA
• Seafood Category Winner: Reef & Beef Pie, Bels Gordon St Bakery, Port Macquarie, NSW
• Game Category Winner: Fancy Pants Goat Pie, Goat Pie Guy, Sandgate, QLD
• Poultry Category Winner: Cajun Spiced Chicken Pie, Denmark Bakery, Denmark, WA
• Gluten-Free Category Winner: Kashmir Vegetarian Pie, The Blue Bird Café, Lockart, NSW
• Apple Pie Category: Apple Pie, Denmark Bakery, Denmark, WA
• Brekkie Pie Category: Lumberjack Pie, Blackbutt Bakery, Blackbutt, QLD
• Vegetarian Category: Thai Roasted Veg Pie, The Provendor Country Bakehouse, Yea, VIC.

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