Somewhat surprisingly, it was business as usual at Waipukurau's Angkor Wat Bakery and Coffee Shop yesterday morning, despite the business winning a silver award at the 2018 Bakels Supreme Pie awards the previous night.

The long-standing Central Hawke's Bay bakery won silver in the steak (diced) and gravy category at the 1950s-themed gala awards night in Auckland on Tuesday, attended by bakers from all over New Zealand.

But co-owner and manager of the Ruataniwha St bakery, Sopanharith "Henry" Chea was expecting a rush on the award-winning pies from locals once word began to spread.

Read more: Hawke's Bay Bakery shines in Supreme Pie Awards


"They don't know yet – it's still morning. Maybe tomorrow they come to try it," said Henry around 10am the morning after the awards.

When asked if there were any secrets to the bakery's steak pie, he replied: "Not really. We add gravy and that's it. But we make it fresh every night."

He revealed the recipe was actually one created by his uncle and multi award-winning pie maker, Mab Chheur, who founded the Waipukurau bakery first before going on to establish a network of Angkor Wat bakeries across the region, many owned and operated by extended family.

Still owner of the Napier Angkor Watbakery on Dickens St, Chheur also won a silver award on Tuesday night in the vegetarian category for a broccoli and capsicum pie with a creamy sauce, as well as a bronze in the gourmet meat category for a butter chicken pie.

Kim Hour Chheur, owner of the newest Angkor Wat bakery on Kennedy Rd in Napier, received a highly commended in the steak (diced) and gravy category.

"We are owned separately, but we are all the one family," said Henry. "They did good, too."

Although he had only been co-owner and manager for three and a half years, Henry has worked for much longer at the Waipukurau bakery, which has featured prominently at the awards for well over a decade.

A list of achievements painted on the bakery window states that in 2001 it won gold in the steak and gravy pie category and silver for its steak and cheese pie; in 2002 it won gold for a chicken and vegetable pie; and in 2003 it was awarded a bronze for a pork and kumara pie.


In 2009 it took bronze in the seafood category and in 2014 won gold in the vegetarian pie category.

Henry had been around the family business for long enough to know that any pie recognised in the Supreme Pie Awards was "good for business".

"Everyone come to try them. Some people even come from Wellington they want to try it," he said.

The top award went to Patrick Lam of Patrick's Pies Cafe and Bakery in Tauranga who won his sixth Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Award with a roast pork and creamy mushroom pie in the gourmet meat category.

Lam won a cheque for $7500 and the coveted New Zealand Bakels Supreme Award Trophy as well as $1000 for each of the three gold awards he won.