Heat on in kitchen to win Bertie cup

A silver-plated trophy arrived in Queenstown amid top security last week, and remains under lock and key with some of the resort's top security agents providing 24-hour cover.

The public will have their first opportunity to view this elegant piece when it goes on display at 6pm on January 10 at the Lake Hayes A & P pavilion.

The next day at 4pm, the Uncle Bertie Cup will be in the hands of the creator of the very finest of home baking, brewing or growing as judged by the experts, including guest Jim Hickey, at the 99th Lake Hayes A & P Show.

Show committee member Roger Tomkins has a tear in his eye as he laments the passing of Uncle Bertie - a fine and consistent competitor at the show, whose home-made gin and baking often caught the eye and stomach of judges.

He cleaned up the Blokes' Baking section one year with a stunning whitebait, bacon and lamb kidney cake, only to have his mutton-bird mince pies pushed into second place the following year by Duncan Forsyth's Camberwell carrot cake.

It was not until Te Radar, in a guest judging appearance at the 2011 show, enthusiastically declared Uncle Bertie's man cake the "best in show" that Uncle Bertie realised his success was unacknowledged.

"Uncle Bertie got lots of first places and got nothing except a kiss on the cheek from Te Radar.

"He left with his shoulders slumped, carrying his man cake off to an evening in front of the fire with his pet pussycat Trevor."

The trophy, he says, was left in Uncle Bertie's will.

"This cup is a memorial in perpetuity for those who stand over a hot stove conjuring up marvellous dishes to delight the crowds of the A & P show."

And with Uncle Bertie no longer with us and Mr Tomkins himself banned from entering his own culinary delights, being an organiser and judge this year, the field is wide open.

There are scores of home industry categories and heaps of prizes available for children and adults in sections including arts and crafts (bring along your novelty fruit and vegetable creation), baking, home brew beer, wine and gin, gardening, preserves and photography.

"The idea is for all those people who know they're brilliant bakers and cooks to take their chance to enter and win."

With the The Southland Times-sponsored show preparing for its 100th annual event next year, the Uncle Bertie Cup is sure to be keenly contested for many years to come.


The Southland Times