It's official, Tauranga is home to the best pie in New Zealand.
Tauranga baker Pat Lam of Patrick's Pie Group, has been crowned the supreme winner of this year's Bakels Supreme Pie Awards for a bacon and egg entry.
Mr Lam, who runs Gold Star Bakery stores in Bethlehem and 2nd Ave, was honoured with the award at a gala dinner in Auckland last night.
The win is Mr Lam's fifth supreme pie award since the awards began 20 years ago. He beat 539 other competitors this year for the title.
The humble bacon and egg pie was also awarded gold for its category.
Mr Lam's Cointreau pear, apple, cherry and cheesecake pie was highly commended in the gourmet fruit category and his steak and cheese entry was awarded silver.
Last night's four wins mean Mr Lam has won 56 pie awards since 2003.
Tauranga store Baker Bobs Bakery & Cafe was also honoured in the awards, winning gold for its steak and cheese entry.
The bakery also picked up the bronze award for its spinach, pumpkin and kumara entry in the vegetarian category, and bronze for its potato top entry.
Brent Kersel, managing director of NZ Bakels, said part of the success of the awards was the improvement in the quality of the pies year on year.
''The bakers of today are very resourceful, and combined with the quality produce available - from our delicious beef and flavour some vegetables - produce pies to a high quality,'' he said.
''The winning pie looked impressive before tasting. The flavour and moistness of the bacon and egg combination was mouth-watering.''
A panel of 21 judges spent more than 10 hours on Thursday judging 5,284 pies, which were blind coded in 12 categories.
Awards judge Mark Southon said there were lots of stand outs including a beautifully decorated sweet pie and a tasty steak and cheese, but the winner was a Kiwi classic -''The bacon and egg pie, even crisp and flaky pastry, a generous filling that was full of tasty bacon and there was a whole egg set within - yum, yum!"
Chief judge Tim Aspinall said he looked for if a pie said 'eat me', if it had a wow factor and invited the eater to go further, whether the pastry evenly cooked to a golden brown and if there was good aroma and flavour.
''Patrick's winning bacon and egg pie ticked all these boxes!''
Mr Lam won the coveted Supreme Pie trophy and $7,500 cash, and gold award winners received $1000 cash.
Tauranga's efforts at the Bakels pie awards
Pat Lam of Gold Star Bakery - SUPREME winner; Bacon and egg GOLD; Steak and cheese SILVER; Gourmet fruit HIGHLY COMMENDED (Cointreau pear, apple, cherry cheesecake).
Baker Bobs Bakery & Cafe - Steak and cheese GOLD; Vegetarian BRONZE (spinach, pumpkin and kumara); Potato top BRONZE.