For the first time in its history, a vegan pie has been crowned the winner of the British Pie Awards Competition.
The curried sweet potato and butternut squash pie, concocted by butcher Jon Thorner, beat over 800 other entries from 176 countries to be crowned the “Supreme Champion” of the competition. Held in Melton Mowbry, which is traditionally known as the “home of the pork pie”, it is the first time the contest has included a vegan pie category. The event is hosted by the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association.
According to the BBC, Thorner has been creating meat pies for over a decade but has recently been experimenting with meat-less varieties “in an effort to make our pies more accessible“. He added that he was “thrilled at the level of success our vegan pie has had.”
The success has not been celebrated by everyone, however. Michelin-starred chef Richard Corrigan criticised the win, saying to the Telegraph “The millennials have taken over. It’s not a pie competition. It’s a pie in the sky competition.” Known for being outspoken, he added, “The oldest culinary art form left in the world and the vegans have taken it away. It’s a disgrace.”
Clearly the judges disagreed, with head judge Colin Woodhead saying “There are a number of challenges to making a good vegan pie and this has cracked it.” He added, “[t]he pastry was exceptional with a crispness that complemented the filling.”
The sentiment was echoed by sponsor Lisa Buck, owner of The Vegan Owl, who told Vegan News UK, “I am over the moon that a pie from the Vegan Class was awarded Supreme Champion.”
Chairman of The British Pie Awards, Matthew O’Callaghan, also said of the entry “[t]his pie isn’t just for vegans, it’s a pie for everybody. With this award, we can truly say that veganism is now entering the mainstream of British food.”
The awards are now in their 10th year, and since the beginning, the event has added categories recognising gluten-free, vegetarian and now vegan options. According to O’Callaghan this is in order to reflect the “evolving” tastes of the nation, adding “[w]e started off small with the idea to celebrate pies, because they’re one of the great contributions to the world from British cuisine.”