Botany's Greenland Bakery mince and cheese pie is the best
Champion baker David Liem eats two pies every day and makes more than 200 a week.
So there's no doubt he knows a winning pie when he tastes one.
His finely tuned tastebuds have just earned him top honours in the 2013 Bakel's New Zealand Supreme Pie Awards where he was named supreme winner.
Mr Liem, who emigrated from Vietnam, had never tasted a pie, let alone made one until 10 years ago.
But now it's official - he's a bona-fide connoisseur.
The owner of Greenland Bakery in Botany Town Centre is no stranger to success. This is the fourth year in a row his business has won awards at the competition, but the first time it's taken out the top spot.
Mr Liem thinks it's his use of vegetable oil that sets his pies apart. But that's the only ingredient he is willing to reveal - the rest is "a family secret".
Pie-making is a talent the Liem family shares. Brother Bill operates Pukekohe's Greenland Bakery and taught David everything he knows.
"After my brother got the gold award a few years ago I tried to learn off him.
"I just try to make a good pie. I love them. Mince and cheese is my favourite."
And sister Alissa knows a thing or two about pies as well. She suspected the mince and cheese might be a supreme winner.
"The pie looked so good. We still can't believe it though. We are just so happy," she says.
This year's awards attracted a record-breaking 4522 pies from 505 pie-makers throughout the country, making it the highest number of entries in its 17-year history.
A panel of 22 judges spent a long day in the kitchen on July 18 judging entries.
Judge and Bakels executive chairman Duncan Loney says the Greenland Bakery winner was "impeccable".
"It was well-rounded and well-flavoured, with a perfect balance between the strength of the mince and the cheese. The pastry was good quality with a crunchy flaky top, robust rim, and a lovely even colour. It stood out."
Mr Liem's broccoli, pumpkin, carrot, spinach, capsicum and mushroom pie won silver in the vegetarian category while his chicken and vegetable pie was awarded bronze.
Forty-nine awards were up for grabs, with the supreme prize worth $7500 and the coveted Supreme Piemaker Trophy. Gold award winners receive $1000.
Mr Liem already has his eyes on the supreme prize for 2014.
Today is Pie Day Friday.
Participating bakeries will be donating 20 cents from every pie sold to Duffy Books in Homes – helping to provide free books to more than 100,000 Kiwi children.
■ Visit piedayfriday.co.nz for a list of bakeries taking part.