Norfolk chef steaks claim to victory in annual pie bake off

avid 'Billy' Brown, head chef at The Hare Arms, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, has been crowned National Steak Pie Champion 2006 in the English Beef and Lamb Executive's (EBLEX) annual competition.

David 'Billy' Brown, head chef at The Hare Arms, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, has been crowned National Steak Pie Champion 2006 in the English Beef and Lamb Executive's (EBLEX) annual competition. In a nerve-wracking cook-off final round, Brown took on five other finalists for the title and can now claim his Steak and Peppercorn Pie is the best in England.

Brown, who was presented with his prize by Lord Rooker, food and farming minister, and Richard Ali, EBLEX chief executive, said: "I couldn't believe it when my name was called out as the winner. I'm so proud. I truly believe you won't find a better pie than mine.

"Our philosophy is to always source quality meat and our local butcher, who is less than two miles away from us, rears his own cattle. He is very proud of the meat he provides us with and his animals are well cared for, which helps ensure excellent quality meat. In my opinion, it's primarily the quality of the meat that really makes a great pie. All my friends and family, and my colleagues are over the moon."

But the celebrations had to be put on hold until Brown's day off as he had to go back to work. Hugh Judd, foodservice project manger for EBLEX and a judge on the day, said: "The standard of entries in this competition has been incredibly high and it was very difficult to select just one of the fantastic finalists to be the winner. The skill, hard work and passion during the judging of the cook-off were second to none.

"However, there can of course only be one winner and David's Steak and Peppercorn Pie stood apart from the competition, with its deliciously rich filling of Norfolk beef, together with spicy peppercorns topped with a home-made, shortcrust pastry. Just mouth-watering."

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