THE “Oscars of the baking industry” are open once again as judging started in the World Scotch Pie Championships.
Former Bay City Rollers front man Les McKeown sang the praises of the produce as he took up the role of guest judge for the second year in a row.
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The singer joined experts and members of the public to taste and rate more than 500 items in Dunfermline, Fife.
The Scots rocker said: “This is my second year and it all came about by accident.
“I was looking for a pie app on my phone when I was up in Scotland but after searching online all I could find was the site for the World Scotch Pie Championships.
“I called them up to see if they could recommend where to go and they ended up roping me in to the judging. But I love it, it’s like the Oscars for the bakers that take part.
“It’s great for our touring now because all the bakers and butchers send me half a dozen pies so that I can start judging, so with six pies every week it’s enough to feed the band at least once a week when we’re on tour.”
The Roller was presented with a special present at the judging as he turns 59 this week.
“That was a lovely touch,” McKeown said.
“I wondered for a moment if it was a massive pie but it’s a cake shaped as Scotch pie, and that’s just as good for me.”
Competitors were also invited to enter their best sausage rolls, bridies, speciality savouries and football pies to compete for the top spots in a variety of award categories.
Run by the Scotch Pie Club, the competition aims to show that bakers and butchers create high-quality artisan pastry products.
Organisers hope that recognising the best in their field rewards excellence and raises the bar in the industry.
Douglas Scott, from the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders, said: “In pie land nothing is bigger than the world championships and it’s a hugely impressive title to have and one that is much sought after.
“It can make a dramatic difference to the business of the winner and can lead to a massive increase in sales.”
Alan Clarke, chief executive of Scottish Bakers, said: “More than 100 butchers and bakers from Shetland to Stranraer have entered 579 products this year, so we will select not only the best pie but also the makers of the best savouries in Scotland.
“This is a serious competition and has been running for 16 years now. Scotland makes the best pies and that’s why it’s the world championships.
“Some of the recipes are secret, some have been handed down through generations and the sales are testament to the work that is done by the industry day in and day out.”
The competition winners will be announced in January.
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