The best in Australia

By Southern Riverina News

Finley Bakery & Patisserie has returned home from the Australia’s Best Pie And Pastie Competition 2019 last week with 20 awards.

Among them, the bakery’s silver medal winning vegetarian pastie was later judged to be the vegetarian category winner in Australia’s Best Pastie Competition.

The pastie was one of the bakery’s 14 silver medal winning entries. The bakery also claimed three bronze awards, and gold for its chunky beef and bacon pie.

Owner Andrew Richardson said three of the awards were earned by the bakery’s three apprentices — Kattarina White who won bronze for her apprentice plain pie, and Simi Naicori and Sharyn White who each won silver for their apprentice traditional pasties.

Medals are awarded based on a points system, with up to 12 judges marking on pastry, taste, texture and aroma of pies and pasties which are tasted both hot and cold.

‘‘It is humbling to have won so many awards, and it’s a little unexpected.

‘‘I have to congratulate the staff for their effort and the extra work on top of what they usually do to get the pies ready for competition.

‘‘The staff out the back are led by Micka Littlejohn and James Ogilvie who works specifically with our three apprentices to ensure quality. And Brie Rees leads out customer service staff.

‘‘The quality of our local product is a testament to out local vegetable producers and our local butchers.

‘‘Our local customers are our most important asset, because the products we make and sell are available because they want to buy them every day.

‘‘We are tweaking our recipes all the time and we have 35 different varieties, some of which are seasonal.’’

Mr Richardson dedicated last week’s 20 award wins to his family, and in particular his late wife Maree Richardson.

‘‘Even before we bought the bakery Maree loved to go and buy a pie and a pastie, cut them in half and we would share them,’’ Mr Richardson said.

‘‘When the business came up for sale we took the plunge as a family, all my daughters have worked at the bakery at one stage and of course bmu son in law Micka.

‘‘Zoe has recently returned from university to work here again and my young granddaughters Eva and Poppy spend a lot of time at the bakery too.’’

There were 2000 pie and pastie entries judged at last week’s competition, submitted by 350 entrants.

Finley Bakery & Patisseries award winning entries were:

Bronze – Chilli; curry sausage; pulled pork & apple; apprentice plain pie. Silver – Traditional pastie; curry pastie; vegetarian pastie; plain beef; steak, bacon, onion & cheese; steak & kidney; Finley farmer’s choice; chunky beef & pepper; vegetarian pie; Finley solar powered pie; lamb & rosemary; seafood chowder; and two for apprentice traditional pastie. Gold – Chunky beef & bacon.