A vegan pie has sparked culinary controversy after winning first place at the British Pie Awards.
The sweet potato, butternut squash and spinach pie was named ‘Supreme Champion’ at the competition held in Leicestershire – home of the traditional pork pie.
Jon Thorner, a butcher from South West England, bested over 880 competitors to win the coveted title – marking the first time a non-meat pie has taken out top honours.
Mr Thorner described the victory as ‘completed unexpected’ and said he was thrilled by the recipe’s success.
“We’ve been baking meat pies for over a decade, progressed to vegetarian and just recently decided to branch out and create a vegan pie, in an effort to make our pies more accessible,” Mr Thorner told media sources.
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BRITISH PIE AWARDS SUPREME CHAMPION 2019! What a day team Thorner's have had! Picked up not 1 but 3 awards at the British Pie Awards today. Our new, hot out of the kitchen Curried Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash pie has won Best in Class, Best Producer and Supreme Pie Champion 2019! A huge thank you to all of our kitchen team, John the Chef for the award winning recipe and Luke from our homemade team for assisting in making our new vegan pie award winning! Further official pics from the day will be out soon but who doesn't love a post award selfie with all the silverware?! #BritishPieAwards #selfie #veganpie #supremechampion #vegan #somerset #jonthorners #shoplocal #britishpieweek
However, the outcome has sparked a row among England’s culinary elite – with one renowned chef labeling the vegan pie a ‘disgrace’.
Sparking with British media, Michelin-starred chef Richard Corrigan said: “Please, please I’m going to cry”.
“Pies are supposed to be filled with the most delicious morsels of steak and liver and kidney, with the jelly and little pieces of fat in the middle delicately dripping onto your tongue.
A vegan pie? Give me a break… The oldest culinary art form left in the world and the vegans have taken it away. It’s a disgrace.
The millennials have taken over. It’s not a pie competition. It’s a pie in the sky competition… We should all just retire now.”
However, judges of the prestigious pie competition remain unapologetic – saying the vegan pie was a worthy winner.
Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of the British Pie Awards, said: “This year’s Supreme Champion was outstanding and well deserving of the accolade.”
“From its very appearance on the judging tray you knew it was going to do well and it didn’t disappoint when it was opened and tasted.
This pie isn’t just for vegans, it’s a pie for everybody.
With this award we can truly say that veganism is now entering the mainstream of British food.”
Facebook users were quick to express their support for the newly crowned vegan pie online:
“It’s times businesses learnt they need to adapt to include the vegan market in order to survive.”
“Vegan cooking is much more complex and harder to master. I wish I had the recipe!”
“The combo sounds delicious! Curried sweet potato and butternut squash…”
Cover image: Go London