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Who ate all the the traditional Kiwi meat pies?

It was 30 foodies from throughout the country yesterday who tasted, inspected and dissected more than 3000 pies as part of New Zealand's biggest baking contest.

The Bakels Supreme Pie Awards drew pies from bakers, two West Coast hotels, a Parnell butcher and supermarkets throughout the country.

They were entered in 11 categories - mince and gravy; chicken and vegetables; gourmet meat; bacon and egg; gourmet fruit; steak, vegetable and gravy; steak and cheese; vegetarian; mince and cheese; seafood and commercial wholesale pies.

The pies were judged on presentation, the pastry on the top and bottom, the filling and the profile.

Celebrity judges included award-winning food writers Julie Biuso and Richard Till, who has cooked for Stevie Wonder, U2, Simply Red, Jimmy Barnes and the English cricket team.

The 45 winners will be announced at a dinner in Auckland on Tuesday by MC Paul Holmes. The supreme award winner will receive $7500.

Entries were up this year, with 198 more pies in the competition. Asian bakeries were more prevalent, making up nearly 50 per cent of entries compared to 5 per cent 10 years ago.

Bakels chairman Duncan Loney said the pie market was worth more than $130 million a year compared with the hamburger market, which was worth $89 million. Past winners had experienced an increase in sales of up to 500 per cent.