Hawke's Bay bakers will soon find out if their pastry creations will retain the region's Pie Capital of New Zealand crown.
More than 20 local bakers from Wairoa to Dannevirke entered the annual Bakels Supreme Pie Awards, and winners will be announced at an awards dinner in Auckland tonight.
Local bakers have often scooped the prize pool at the national awards, where this year more than 4500 pies were entered by 444 bakeries and cafes around New Zealand.
Last year, Hollies Bakery in Flaxmere, Jackson's Bakery and Cafe in Havelock North, Hastings New World and John's Bakery and Cafe in Hastings came home with awards.
This year, previous champions BJ's Bakery are back competing after owner James Buckrell judged the national competition for four years.
He said it was "like watching Lotto without a ticket" and he was itching to "get back into it".
He believed his gourmet creations have still got what it takes.
"They are probably the best looking pies we have made in about eight years," he said. "The pastry has really come up nicely and we have made some pretty interesting flavours as well.
"Our gourmet pie is a smoked pork belly done with apples and figs. Watch this space, we have been involved with the competition since 1997 and it's one of the best pies we have made."
Mr Buckrell and his bakers were also being followed by a film crew making a documentary on the event.
Pies will be "blind judged" in 12 categories including mince and gravy, steak, vegetables and gravy, steak and cheese, chicken and vegetables, gourmet meat, vegetarian, bacon and egg, mince and cheese, gourmet fruit, seafood, and commercial wholesale. A new category this year, cafe boutique, has been introduced. Forty-nine awards are up for grabs, with prizes including $7500 cash and the coveted Supreme Piemaker Trophy, while Gold award winners receive $1000 cash.