Gourmet pie from Taupo named the best in New Zealand video

Customer feedback helped make the gourmet pie the best in NZ.
JASON DORDAY/STUFF

Customer feedback helped make the gourmet pie the best in NZ.

It took 12 months of tinkering to make Lee Ing's venison, bacon, mushroom and cheese pie the best in the country.

The baker's gourmet pie didn't even get a look in at last year's pie awards.

But last night, Ing beat 5695 other pies for the top spot in the 21st annual NZ Bakels Supreme Pie Awards, an accolade which will see business at his Fast & Fresh Bakery in Taupo, boom.  

JASON DORDAY/Stuff.co.nz

Lee Ing and wife Linna Tuy from Fast & Fresh Bakery Taupo. They are the winners of the 2017 NZ Bakels Supreme Pie Awards winners.

​"The recipe is basically from the previous owner. Last year, we tried to enter but didn't make it this far," Ing said. He was stoked to be a finalist, but was "surprised and excited" to have the top gong come his way. 



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Despite last year's set back, Ing kept making the venison pies, tweaking the recipe and asking for customer feedback. He eventually ended up with the winning recipe. 

2017 NZ Bakels Supreme Pie Awards winner Lee Ing and Linna Tuy of Fast and Fresh Bakery Taupo. With celebrity judge, ...

2017 NZ Bakels Supreme Pie Awards winner Lee Ing and Linna Tuy of Fast and Fresh Bakery Taupo. With celebrity judge, chef Sean Connolly.

"We just kept trying."

The flavour and texture of the winning pie was exemplary, as was the pastry, said celebrity judge, chef and self-confessed pie fiend, Sean Connolly.  

"I was so impressed that it wasn't dry. It was super moist, it was tender. And the skill of the cook - it was not just the pie making - he made a great pie filling," Connolly said. 

"The amount of effort and hard work that went into his pie, it's just amazing and I'm blown away," Connolly said.

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Ing moved to New Zealand from Cambodia 12 years ago and cut his teeth baking in Hawera at Tun's Bakery.

Learning from owners Sophal​ and Sophaon​ Tun, Ing discovered he had a flair for baking. Over a decade he developed his pastry skills before moving to Taupo about two years ago to work at Fast & Fresh.

"We moved there and stayed there a bit, but we liked it and we stayed."

He and wife Linna Tuy bought the bakery from the previous owners 14 months ago. Ing loves his winning venison pie of course, but can't go past what the locals love most: mince and cheese.

Ing is looking forward to coming up with more creative pies to please discerning Kiwis' palates, he said. 

"We know New Zealanders love pies." 

Connolly tried 25 pies in the morning of judging on July 27th, and the final category winners that afternoon. 

"I loved the innovation of Kiwi pie makers. There were some really wonderful, quirky pies that I'd never thought of before."

Among those pies were some particularly impressive fruit pies, something he did not usually have, he said. 

The winner of that category was Dairy Flat Bakery's blueberry, apricot and apple pie, from Albany. 

"You don't go down the shops to have a fruit pie. But you know what? I would definitely stop off for that fruit pie."

Another favourite was a pineapple, coconut and lime pie, he said. 

"I am a pie fanatic, I've got several pies in my restaurants in several shapes and forms. I've definitely got some [ideas] that I'll take back to Sydney with me."

The biggest categories at the awards were classic mince and cheese, and steak and cheese, with 471 entries in each. 

NZ Bakels managing director Brent Kersel said bakers had been particularly imaginative with their creations this year. 

Entries ranged from goat vindaloo pie to seafood pies with octopus. 

“Year-on- year the Awards have successfully achieved that and continue to lift the bar to a level we never imaged. New Zealand consumers now know what a quality pie looks and tastes like so if a bakery is to succeed their standard needs to be high," he said. 

SUPREME WINNER: Fresh & Fast Bakery, Taupo (venison, bacon, mushroom and cheese)

MINCE & GRAVY

Gold: Crown Bakery & Coffee, Pukekohe 

Silver: Counties Bakery, Pukekohe

Bronze: Richoux Patisserie, Auckland

Highly commended: Pak 'n' Save, Petone

STEAK & GRAVY

Gold: Viands Bakery, Kihikihi

Silver: Dairy Flat Bakery, Albany

Bronze: Papamoa Bakery, Papamoa

Highly commended: Gold Star Pat's Pies, Tauranga

CHICKEN & VEGETABLE

Gold: Gold Star Pat's Pies, Tauranga

Silver: Nada Bakery, Wellington

Bronze: Viands Bakery, Kihikihi

Highly commended: The Bakehouse Cafe, Thames

GOURMET FRUIT

Gold: Dairy Flat Bakery, Albany (blueberry, apricot and apple)

Silver: Hastings City New World (walnut, zingy lemon, black doris plum, apple and lemon)

Bronze: Viands Bakery, Kihikihi (vanilla, ginger, pear and caramel)

Highly commended: Better Quality Pie, Rotorua (rhubarb, apple and lime)

GOURMET MEAT

Gold: Fast & Fresh Bakery, Taupo (venison, mushroom, bacon and cheese)

Silver: Gold Star Pat's Pies, Tauranga (pork, onion and cheese)

Bronze: The Clareville Bakery, Carterton (lamb cutlet, rosemary, lemon and kumara)

Highly commended: Hillside Bakehouse & Cafe, Auckland (chicken, cranberries and camembert)

VEGETARIAN

Gold: Richoux Patisserie, Takapuna (corn, carrot, potato and mushroom)

Silver: Spelt Bakery on Highgate, Dunedin (creamy mushroom)

Bronze: Mairangi Bay Bakery (pumpkin, kumara, potato, capsicum, cauliflower)

Highly commended: Baker Bob's Bakery Cafe, Tauranga (spinach, pumpkin, kumara and cottage cheese)

BACON & EGG

Gold: Gold Star Pat's Pies, Tauranga 

Silver: Samis Bakery & Cafe, Foxton

Bronze: Olivers Bakehouse & Cafe, Auckland

Highly commended: Champion Bakery & Cafe, Wellsford

MINCE & CHEESE

Gold: Richoux Patisserie, Takapuna

Silver: Crown Bakery & Coffee, Pukekohe

Bronze: Le Royal Bakery, Auckland

Highly commended: Pak 'n' Save, Petone

STEAK & CHEESE

Gold: Waihi Bakery, Waihi

Silver: Pak 'n' Save, Petone

Bronze: Richoux Patisserie, Takapuna

Highly commended: Target Bakehouse & Cafe, Pukekohe

POTATO TOP

Gold: Dairy Flat Bakery, Albany

Silver: Bakers Oven, Whangapararaoa

Bronze: Angkor Wat Bakery & Coffee, Waipukurau

Highly commended: Angkor Kiwi Bakery & Cafe, Napier

COMMERCIAL WHOLE/SALE

Gold: Dad's Pies, Hibiscus Coast

Silver: The Wholesale bakery, Wanaka

Bronze: Oxford Pies, Hamilton

Highly commended: Couplands Bakery, Christchurch

CAFE BOUTIQUE

Gold: Cafe Pret, Sockburn (steak, mushrooms, carrots & shallots)

Silver: Ed's Cafe, Mt Wellington (steak and cheese)

Bronze: New World, Warkworth (beef, blue cheese and mustard) 

Highly commended: Kitchen Republic, Tauranga (gourmet beef and caramelised onion)

* Comments on this article have been closed.

 - Stuff

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