Top pies have special Cambodian source
New Zealand’s best pies have been coming from CambodianKiwi bakeries over the past few years.
The NZ Bakels Supreme Pie Awards were announced on Tuesday night and once again it was Cambodian-born bakers taking away the supreme award, as well as a swag of gold, silver and bronze medals.
Top of the 2017 list of winners was Lee Ing - from Taupo’s Fast and Fresh - who took out the supreme award for his venison, bacon, mushroom and cheese pie. Last year’s winner, Patrick Lam received awards for his steak and gravy, chicken and vegetable, gourmet meat and bacon and egg. Lee Ung of Crown Bakery & Coffee in Auckland’s Pukekohe topped the mince and gravy category.
They were all Cambodians who learned to bake in New Zealand and have been scaling the ranks, winning pie awards annually. There have been many others in the history of the awards too.
Ing attributed his move into baking to the Cambodian community.
He did not have much family around New Zealand, so he was naturally drawn to working with other Cambodians at Tun’s Bakery in Hawera, in South Taranaki.
He recently took over Fast & Fresh Bakery in Taupo.
‘‘There are lots of Cambodian bakeries around New Zealand. In some parts there are more than others.‘‘ Ing said.
Baking Industry Association of New Zealand president Kevin Gilbert said the baking industry in New Zealand was relatively close but, ‘‘in general, don’t give away tips and secrets’’.
However that could be different in in the Cambodian community, Gilbert said.
‘‘Because of the cultural community, it’s probably got quite a bit to do with it. They are all close together, perhaps that helps.’’
The bakers had over time come to realise what the judges were looking for, so that helped too,
‘‘Pat [Lam] has just mastered it, he just knows how to make a superb pie.
Tauranga-based Lam has won the supreme award five times since he started entering the competition, and has received over 50 medals for his range of pies.
‘‘All the Cambodian bakers try really hard and get really serious over the pie competition stuff,’’ he said.
Lee Ing and wife Linna Tuy from Fast and Fresh Bakery Taupo sell New Zealand’s best pie.