Held April 12 and 13 in Orlando at the Renaissance Orlando SeaWorld Hotel, here amateur, professional and commercial bakers entered their most delicious pies in both sweet and savoury flavour categories for bragging rights to be named the nation's best.
In the commercial division, bakeries from across the nation and Canada competed in flavour categories including savoury pot pies and sweet flavours ranging from apple, lemon and pumpkin to citrus, fruit and berry, pecan and banana cream to sugar-free and even an open category. The pies were taste-tested by more than 200 judges.
First place was awarded for the best commercial pies in each flavour category, with top honours going to Harlan Bakeries, with 19 blue ribbons, closely followed by Weston Foods, with 18 blue ribbons.
Top pies from Harlan Bakeries, Avon, Ind., included "Bursting from Berries," "Chocolate Maple Sugar Creme," "Honey Crisp Apple," "Cheesecake Pecan Brittle" and "Peachy Keen."
Some of the judges favorites from Weston Foods, Brownsburg, Ind., included "I Only Have (Cherry) Pies for You," "Guittard Chocolate Cherry Pie," "Strawberry Rhubarb Lattice Pie," and "Hold the Sugar Pineapple Pie."
In addition to sweet pies, first place ribbons were awarded for three savory pot pies including Southeastern Grocers' "Traditional Premium Chicken Pot Pie" and "Premium Pizza Pot Pie" and World of Pies' "Spinach and Feta Pot Pie."
The list of winning commercial bakers and number of ribbons is listed below. A complete list including each company's list of first place winning pies is available at piecouncil.org.
- Harlan Bakeries, Avon., Ind. - 19
- Weston Foods, Brownsburg, Ind. - 18
- Southeastern Grocers, Jacksonville, Fla. - 14
- Rocky Mountain Pies, Salt Lake City, Utah -- 12
- Publix Supermarkets, Lakeland, Fla. - 11
- Jessie Lord Bakery, Torrance, Calif. - 9
- Table Talk Pies, Worcester, Mass. - 8
- Michele's Pies, Norwalk, CT - 5
- Walmart, Inc.,Bentonville, Ark. - 5
- Wick's Pies, Winchester, Ind. - 4
- Meijer, Grand Rapids, Mich. - 3
- Something Sweet, New Haven, Conn. - 3
- Sunset Grill, Clearwater, Fla. - 3
- The Rose Plantation, Fruitland Park, Fla. - 3
- Lisa's Pie Shop, Atlanta, Ind. - 2
- Mike's Pies, Tampa, Fla. - 2
- A Fish Called Avalon, South Beach Miami, Fla. - 1
- Wayne's Family Restaurant, Oconto, Wisc. - 1
- World of Pies, LLC, Norcross, Ga. - 1
- Norske Nook, Osseo, Wisc. -- 1
"Our commercial bakers represent the best of the best in the pie making industry," said Linda Hoskins, Executive Director, American Pie Council in a press release. "While coming together each year to compete, our family of top commercial pie makers also share ideas that furthers the growth of the pie industry at large. We're proud of our 25 years fostering America's love affair with pie and can't wait to see what our bakers cook up over the next 25 years!"
Once judging commenced, pie industry icons took to the stage in on-going seminars that provided everything from tips and the latest industry research to demonstrations showcasing new baking techniques.
Chef Joe DiPaolo of Pinnacle Foods and Meg Harris from Conagra Brands demoed the art and science of pie thickeners; while Chef Josh Johnson, The Guittard Chocolate Company, focused on the flavor impact of layers and textures and Chef Monica Kate of Dobla focused on creating your unique identify using Dobla, to name a few of the seminars.
For more information on the American Pie Council and the 25thAnnual APC National Pie Championships, visit www.piecouncil.org.