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WATCH: Behind the scenes of The World Championship Scotch Pie Awards 2022 judging

After a two year hiatus The World Championship Scotch Pie Awards was back with a bang as more than 50 judges descended on Dunfermline to judge around 420 products in 11 different categories.

From macaroni pies to everything from hot savouries which include bridies, sausage rolls and more, not forgetting sweet apple pies, football pies and haggis pies, there was plenty for the judges to get stuck into at the judging on November 10.

The awards, which have been running for more than 20 years, celebrate the best of the best from butchers and bakers, shining a light on two important trades in the food and drink sector.

One of the Scotch pies which was judged on the day.

On the day, the judges were tasked with sampling all the goods from the 72 businesses who had put products forward for consideration.

They were split into two separate groups, one for the morning and one for the afternoon session, and then further split into categories to ensure all of the products were judged.

Alasdair Smith, chief executive of Scottish Bakers welcomed the judges, explaining why the event is so important to the bakers and butchers across the country.

While head judge Ian Nelson’s role did not involve eating the products, Ian had his hands full on the day in keeping everything in check.

Criteria

Each pie category had a similar judging criteria to ensure the process is fair, with four or five categories including taste, smell, how it looks and the shape of it being important factors.

Judges asked themselves, how is it baked? Is it baked nicely? Internally is there a good balance of filling to shell? Is it full enough? What is the colour of it like? Does that carry through once cut in half? Is it too runny or dry? And the most important questions, does it smell nice and does it taste good?

Head judge Ian Nelson pictured in the red hairnet.

The World Scotch Pie Champion Trophy is the main title of the event, so to win it bakers’ and butchers’ pies must be outstanding to bag the diamond title.

Other titles including gold, silver and bronze can also be awarded in each category, however there is only one diamond winner who is the overall winner of the category.

The 2022 winners will be announced at an awards lunch on January 18 2022.

A macaroni pie entrant.

Last year James Pirie & Son of Newtyle, Angus, was crowned the first World Scotch Pie Champion of Champions. The firm won the competition in 2020 and in 2018 with their iconic Scotch pie, and due to the coronavirus pandemic, all past winners went head-to-head for last year’s unique competition.

President of Scottish Bakers, Linda Smith, is also no stranger to the competition having won the title of World Scotch Pie Champion for Murrays Bakers in Perth in 2015.

Linda became the first woman to be named World Scotch Pie Champion and followed in her father’s footsteps to rise to the top in male-dominated businesses.

Some of the judges assessing an entrant.

Alasdair Smith was delighted to see the event make its return two years on and encourages everyone to get out and support their local butchers and bakers who make up such an important part of local communities.

He said: “It is often easy to forget how much a local bakery is contributing to the economy as people see it as just a small business, but it is part of a large network of businesses all coming together.

“We employ 11,000 people across Scotland. It is particularly important to people in local and rural communities. We deliver over £1bn to the Scottish economy which is something like a third of all food and drink manufacturing.

Head Judge Ian Nelson, with Linda Hill, president of Scottish Bakers, and Alasdair Smith, chief executive of Scottish Bakers.

“The number one problem our members and lots of other industries are facing is recruitment and trying to get staff in positions in bakeries – from cleaners to delivery drivers, to apprentices and mechanics.

“As a consequence the businesses are trying to do as much as they can with less staff. It is hard work and we should be really grateful to these people who get out of their beds at 2am and make pies so you can get something to eat on the way to work.”


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