A butcher and a baker battled head-to-head in a tension-filled “Battle of the Pies” at the Royal Highland Show today (Sunday 24th June 2018).
The (oven) gloves were off when Stephen McAllister of the Kandy Bar Bakery, Saltcoats, and Alan Pirie of James Pirie & Son Butchers of Newtyle, fought it out in front of a packed audience on the Quality Meat Scotland stand.
The pair both have top credentials in their trades. Stephen McAllister has won
the World Scotch Pie Championship twice (2014 and 2016) and was named Scottish Baker of the Year twice (2016 and 2017). His opponent was the current World Scotch Pie Champion, Alan Pirie of James Pirie & Son butchers, who has over 180 trade awards to his name.
Both Alan and Stephen, who have more than 100 years of combined experience in their respective trades, showed the extent of their passion for pie-making during a very lively and entertaining contest.
Stephen McAllister said part of the secret of Kandy Bar pie success was the quality of the ingredients. “We use only the finest ingredients including prime Scotch Beef mince coupled with our own secret selection of rusks, spices and peppers and we make our own Scotch pie shells and lids.”
He added: “Today’s competition was loads of fun but I wanted to win! It was fantastic to entertain the audience and inspire them about quality bakers and butchers and Alan was great fun. Winning was completely amazing and meant the world to me!”
The aim of the “pie-off” was to produce the Scotch Pie (made using either Scotch Beef PGI or Scotch Lamb PGI) which most impressed the audience and competition judge, acclaimed chef Justin Maule of Wild Fig Food.
Presenter Bryan Burnett commentated on the pie-off, where the audience had an opportunity to ask questions to the duo.
Stephen McAllister, a fourth-generation baker started in his parent’s business the Kandy Bar bakery at the age of just 14, one of his responsibilities was to fill and top the pies. In 1991 Stephen took over from his parents and now runs the business alongside his wife Rona. The independent family firm, now employ 80 staff employed in four shops; Saltcoats, Kilwinning, West Kilbride and Kilbirnie and have built up a loyal following in the towns as well as further afield.
Alan Pirie a second-generation family butcher has a well-established shop in the Angus Village of Newtyle. James Pirie & Son, established in 1960 by Alan’s father Jim Pirie, Alan then joined him in the business five years later.
Alan takes great pride in sourcing his Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork from local farmers and the shop is popular with customers from far and wide.
“The bake-off was a fantastic opportunity for show-goers to enjoy watching the skills of both men, witnessing the keen spirit of competition between the world champions and of course tasting their award-winning Scotch pies,” said Graeme Sharp, Scotch Butchers Club Manager, QMS.