All of us have our own favourite types of pie but a Poulton business can proudly state one of its is the best in the country.
The Pork Shop on Church Street has had its steak and onion crowned the winner of its class at the British Pie Awards and the shop’s co-owner, Jack Gardner, has been smiling ever since.
The 29-year-old from Stalmine said it felt like he had ‘swum the channel’ to even be nominated for the awards and it was ‘amazing’ to beat 86 other entries to win the ‘Beef and Any Flavour Combination’ class - the most contested class at the awards.
It’s the second year the family business has entered the awards and Jack along with his wife Amy, 25, and their seven-month-old son Hunter drove down to the awards in Melton Mowbray.
Jack said: “We went down to deliver the pies so they could be judged but you don’t actually find out until Thursday morning if you are able to attend the award ceremony.
“Rather than drive back we thought we would stay for a few days to see if we were successful.
“We couldn’t believe it when we found out four out of the five of the pies we entered had made it into the awards.”
The pies are judged on a number of categories including the taste of the meat, the taste of the pastry and the appearance and they are then given a mark out of a 100.
The Pork Shop’s steak and onion achieved 93 overall.
Jack puts the business’ secret for success down to the homemade taste of the pies themselves.
All of the pies the shop sells are made by hand on the premises and Jack calls them ‘the real deal’.
Despite the plans to move the pie making to a larger industrial unit in the town, Jack insists they will still have the homemade feel that marks them out as different to other pies.
Since receiving the award on Friday, people have been going mad to get their hands on one of the pies.
Jack, who works during the night at the shop, said: “Normally on a Saturday we sell about two or three trays of the steak and onion pies. This Saturday just gone we sold 12 trays and it’s all off the back of the award.
“We announced it on our Facebook page on the Friday afternoon and it all started from there. We have had more than 35,000 views which is unreal.”
As well as the award for the steak and onion pies, which sell for £1.50 each, The Pork Shop’s steak and stilton gained a silver award whilst its pork pie and Uncle Dave’s pork pie both picked up a bronze award.
More than 900 different pies were entered into the annual event across 23 different categories.
Jack is hoping to expand on the award win by launching a website soon as well as increasing the presence of The Pork Shop.
It currently supplies pies for the corporate section of Liverpool FC’s Anfield stadium and Jack says it would be a dream to supply the pies for his own team, Blackpool FC.
Jack has worked at The Pork Shop for 14 years and it was jointly set up by his father in 2001.
He became a shareholder in the family business around three years ago and he hopes it will remain as one in for the foreseeable future.
Jack added: “My family have been behind my ideas all the way and my wife has been hugely supportive. Hopefully one day Hunter will be able to takeover from me as well.”