The inaugural 2018 NZ Vegan Pie Awards saw Ellerslie bakery Richoux Patisserie awarded the Supreme Award for their Spiced Apple and Blueberry Fruit Pie - in what was almost a complete clean sweep, taking home six of the seven awards on the day, held at vegan restaurant The Butcher’s Son.
Pioneer Pie Co in Albany Village was the winner of the Gluten Free award, as voted by the panel of judges of the Vegan Society which included Josh Barlow, executive chef at The Sugar Club, Gerrard O’Keefe, executive chef at Hectors Restaurant, vegan director and producer Emmett Skilton and vegan actress Holly Shervey. The team tasted 90 pies from 33 piemakers, rating them for their pastry and filling, along with description accuracy and overall flavour profile.
Shervey said that the intensive taste testing process had been fun.
“We were surprised by our own judgements in a good way.”
O’Keefe added that each of the judges had scored the pies quite differently.
“Between the three of us we had very different tastes.”
Both vegetarian or vegan and traditionally meat focussed cafés and companies created pies for the various categories including (vegan) steak and cheese, mince and cheese, chicken, vegetable, fruit pie and the more flexible categories of café boutique and gluten-free.
A big part of the marking was for the appearance, texture, flavour, cooking and colour of the pastry, which played a big role in Richoux Pattiserie’s success.
“They really hit the pastry every time,” Shervey said.
O’Keefe was incredibly impressed at the layering of the puff pastry, and noted that it was very consistent and well-seasoned.
The awards came about after Philippa Stephenson from plant-based Tart Bakery in Grey Lynn found herself unable to enter a vegan pie in the well-known Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Awards as vegan pies weren’t allowed in the vegetarian category.
She then approached the Vegan Society who took on the challenge.
To be contenders, pies had to be commercially available with an ingredient list provided to confirm its vegan status.
To celebrate World Vegan Day on November 1, the Vegan Society also launched an online 21 day vegan challenge, along with a new certification in collaboration with the Vegetarian Society.
Hectors Restaurant in the Heritage Hotel is the first to receive the label with more companies in line.
For more from The Vegan Society, visit vegansociety.org.nz