28 Jul 2021

Female baker takes top spot for first time in Supreme Pie Awards' history

10:19 am on 28 July 2021

A female baker has for the first time taken the top prize in the Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Awards.

Judging day for 24th Bakels Supreme Pie Awards.

There were 5000 pies submitted to be judged for the 24th Bakels Supreme Pie Awards. Photo: RNZ / Kate Gregan

Sopheap Long of Euro Patisserie in Torbay in Auckland told Morning Report she was proud to be the first woman to take the top spot in the competition's 24-year history.

"I think women can do anything."

Each year a celebrity chef helps with the judging and this year it was Peter Gordon, who had said he was looking for a winning pie fit to serve the Queen.

Long said she was confident about entering the competition with her steak and cheese pie, but did not expect to take the supreme award.

"I think the first [thing to pay attention to] is the pastry. It has to be a pretty nice golden brown and secondly, is the flavours inside - the meat and cheese. It has to be the right balance, consistency and seasoning together."

She used the downtime during Covid-19 lockdown to try different types of gravy and cheese and her children were her testers.

"We played around with the gravy and what kind of cheese [to use] as well.

"[The cheese] has to be not too much, not too little, just enough."

She said when it comes to cooking the meat, her patience may have made the difference over her competitors.

NZ Bakels managing director Brent Kersel said Sopheap's pie competed against 5000 others, entered by 465 bakeries.

"It was a very tightly run race to the finish line. Maybe during periods of lockdown in 2020 our bakers spent time polishing their skills. The standard of entries certainly seems to suggest that," Kersel said in a statement.

In 2019, Long also won the Apprentice Pie Maker Award.

Kersel said that showed hard work paid off and the judges could find no fault in Long's pie.

"The steak was chunky but so tender it just melted in your mouth. It was surrounded by rich, dark gravy and topped with a semi-soft tangy cheese; just delicious.

"The golden flaky pastry had perfect layering and the base was lightly golden brown with a hand hold-able firmness."

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