Auckland baker Sopheap Long made history tonight as the first female to win a Bakels NZ Supreme Pie Award with her steak and cheese creation.
Long from Euro Patisserie in Torbay, North Shore, struck gold, surpassing 5000 other pies presented by 465 bakeries in the competition's 24th year.
Bakers across the country celebrated Long's win at the Hilton Hotel in Auckland tonight.
NZ Bakels managing director Brent Kersel said when judging Long's pie in the final round, the judges appeared to stop in their tracks and fall deep in thought.
"This pie has everything going for it. The steak was chunky but so tender, it just melted in your mouth," Kersel said.
"It was surrounded by rich, dark gravy and topped with semi-soft tangy cheese, just delicious.
"The golden flaky pastry had perfect layering and the base was lightly golden brown with a hand holdable firmness we just couldn't fault it," he said.
Sopheap only won her Apprentice Pie Maker Award in 2019.
Kersel said tonight's win was an enormous achievement for her and truly exhibited the reward of hard work and one's care to the quality of their creation.
"Pie fans will be heading to her bakery to try her pies and I'm sure they won't be disappointed," Kersel said.
Judges were impressed with the standard at this year's competition. Contestants appeared to have perfected their skills and refined their recipes during lockdown periods, Kersel said.
The blend of beef and cheese continued to see the highest number of entries in the competition, showing it was a Kiwi classic.
Bacon and egg and vegetarian pies were rising in popularity as a result of Kiwis' growing love for them.
This year's gold-winning bacon and egg and gourmet meat exemplified the superiority of pies still being an affordable nourishing meal, Kersel said.