Wednesday 9 March 2016

British Pie Awards 2016 - Live!

British Pie Awards 2014 - Church
The home of the British Pie Awards

The day of the British Pie Awards has arrived! Held in St Mary’s Church in the heart of Melton Mowbray, it is a spectacular setting in the home of the pork pie. The sun may not be shining - it's chucking it down with rain in Birmingham as we set off! - but around 100 judges are making their way to the warm, dry venue to rate around 800 pies from across Britain and beyond! Of course you won't be surprised to know we've been called up to judge again this year, having been a judge at the British Pie Awards last year and in 2014 and volunteer helpers at the awards in 2013.

Yes, following Pierateer Sam judging last year, we have been called in again to lend our pie rating skills to the com-pie-tition, alongside TV chef Andy Bates, food critic Charles Campion and food writer Rachel Green. And while the British Pie Awards use a significantly different set of criteria to us, rather than the 7 Cs of pie rating that we have used to rate 500 pies on Pierate, there are very few pie experts they could call on with more ex-pie-rience than us when it comes to the pie-fect pie judge!

This year Rob, Sam and Tim are heading over to Melton Mowbray and recording what happens in their live blog posts below and on Twitter. Check back for updates during the day!

8.00 - The lads are up and ready to go for the British Pie Awards 2016!

8.15 - It's blowing a gale here in Birmingham as we set off but hopefully it will brighten up later in Melton Mowbray! The sight of hundreds of pies will certainly brighten the day!

9.22 - The three Pierateers are on the train to Melton Mowbray! Having done this journey many times before we know the signal is sporadic so will message again in an hour or so when we arrive, after this quote!

9.25 - Pierateer TJP says: "The pie count is on 14 this British Pie Week and I'm hoping to break 30 by 3pm!" - That's the beauty of the British Pie Awards judging - so many pies to try!

10:40 - Tim, Rob and Sam are now in St Mary's. The big news is that we are judging Catgory 11, the Specialty Meat category! Sounds Great!

10:50 - The head judges for each category go into their briefing in this cathedral of pie.

11:00 - You can sense the anticipation in the air. The church is looking great

11:10 - The judges are being briefed. The head judge carefully explains the process. Things are taken seriously here.

11:15 - I have just been handed the words to today's blessing of the pies, it is quite brilliant. Sounds like it may be sung.

So my, my, what beautiful pies,
They've got a great aroma,
Wafting up to the skies,
And meat or veg or fruity,
We must give them a try;
We thank God for the bakers so wises,
Who have baked us all these wonderful pies.

11:20 - Judges are finding their places. We are now having an opening address from the head of Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association. While we wait have a look at this beauty in the special category to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday.

11:25 - Some of you may have guessed already but we sang the prayer to the tune of 'American Pie'. Surreal moment here in Melton Mowbray.

11:35 - Judging commences! The first hot pies come out the oven.

12:00 - Rob is advising the other judges on Pie reviewing. We have reviewed over 500 after all! Category 11 is into full swing.

12:15 - Speaking to our friends at nice pie you realise how much work goes into setting up the British Pie Awards. They started on Monday getting the church ready.

12:30 - We have just interviewed Matthew O'Callaghan, head of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association. He told us the pie industry is worth £1 billion to the UK economy! Incredible. See video below.

12:30 - Chatting with Paul from Mrs King's pies. He trained as a butcher but claims the key to a good pie is mastering the very different arts of both butchery and bakery which is why it is difficult to make a winning pie.

13:00 - Some of these pies are so beautiful it is a shame to see them dismantled. I have just been watching a tiered pies being cut into. There was some controversy regarding whether it was fully encased, see video link.

13:20 - We take time out to chat to our very own Tim and also Tim Coleman who are both judging category 11.

13:30  - Some controversial looking pies here. There are a few that look like loaves of bread. According the the judges they taste like bread too!

13:45 - The discarded pie is starting to mount up here on the hot chicken category. Apparently some brilliant pies found already.

13:50 - Just had a nice long chat with the vicar of the church we are in. He is in his 6th year of judging. He says he is happy that the church is being used by the community. Regarding the quirky prayer he says he can't bless a pie in a serious way. He seems to love the event and in all seriousness it couldn't happen here without his permission so thanks!

14:00 - Andy Bates is on the Pub pie category this year. It is that stage where the judges are starting to get full of pie! He says they have see quite a lot of steak & ale and vegetarian pies in the category.

14:40 - Some categories are starting to finish now but we are still going on Category 11. Our very own Pierateer Rob takes us through the judging techniques.

14:55 - The pies have been rated. A top 3 has been established and our work is done! Thanks to the British Pie Awards for hosting us and see you again next year!

The winners at the British Pie Awards will be announced on Friday 11th March on the @BritishPies twitter feed and updated on the British Pie Awards website.

If you want to find out more about the British Pie Awards 2016, check out our Countdown to the British Pie Awards article.

Did you know? This is the first time that the British Pie Awards are happening in British Pie Week! Find out more about British Pie Week here!

The Pierateers are on a mission to find the best pie they can and you can see a list of their pies rated so far in the Pierate Pie Rankings or find pies of a similar flavour on the Pies: Categorised page.

Make sure you and let us know your thoughts!

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