Local business Target Bakehouse and Cafe run by Savancham Nap Ly and his wife Nary, were the recipients of the Gold Award for their Vegetarian pie.
This year, their pie boasted not only a beautiful tasting, but a beautiful looking pumpkin, white sauce, spinach, mushroom, corn and feta vegetarian pie.
Their latest gold is one of many gold awards that line the walls of their cafe on Manukau Road, Pukekohe.
The lead up to the awards was a busy time of preparation. “We didn’t sleep,” Nap said. But the hard work paid off. “We’re still happy that we’re at this level. The locals are happy, we want to bring them good pies.”
It wasn’t enough to win the elusive Supreme Award, which this year went to now six-time winner Patrick Lam of Tauranga.
But the dream for Nap is to still see the Supreme Award come to Pukekohe. It has been a few years since the Supreme award was won by an Aucklander. “You shouldn’t have to drive all the way to get a supreme pie, just have it here,” Nap said.
Following their success from this award, and ones in the past, Nap and Nary have seen people come from Christchurch and Wellington to taste their gold pies. “I think they do a little tour of all the gold winners.” They first entered the awards in 2011 and have achieved every year, with either a place or in the top ten. “Now we want to improve the classics like mince and cheese and steak and cheese,” he said.
The judges are different every year, and there is no feedback so it can be difficult to actually decide what improvements need to be made. Nap said he has been able to learn from his family, who are also in the bakery business. “I learn from my big brothers and sisters and my Dad. I’m the youngest, so I get to learn from all of them,” he said. They also appreciate their feedback from customers. “You can’t grow without feedback. Good or bad, you learn from it,” he said.
“We are all thankful to Bakels. It’s a very special event, they give us a great platform and we can compete against the whole nation,” he said.
Srieng Chou from Tuakau’s Fresh Bun Bakery was in the top 10 for the Mince and Gravy, Steak and Gravy and Vegetarian at this year’s awards.