Pie man up for recognition

A pie-maker in South Lanarkshire has been shortlisted for a British food competition with his Honeyed Venison Pie.

Former caterer and pub owner Bernard Alessi of Simple Simon’s Perfect Pies has created the healthy product from scratch after he saw a gap in the market for top-quality pies that were designed to be a meal and not a snack.

The venison pie has now made the shortlist of the Country Living Magazine and Waitrose Made in Britain Awards 2009. From the 12 finalists, five food producers will be chosen, each winning £5,000 to develop their business and the opportunity to sell their product in local Waitrose stores, while the overall winner will receive a further £5,000.

Waitrose commercial director Richard Hodgson said: “The innovation and dedication shown by this year’s finalists prove that small producers are major players in the British food arena. Against the backdrop of challenging economic conditions, each of the finalists has had to look beyond the ordinary to create a food or drink product that is extraordinary, which Waitrose applauds. As one of the judges, I was able to taste the products and am delighted that Simple Simon’s pies are one of the finalists.”

Bernard cooks the pies himself, rising at 2am to begin baking and, with the help of seven employees, he has seen his company move from a small bakery to a factory in Coulter, producing 2,000 pies a week.

Other meat companies that have made the final include the Trealy Farm Charcuterie, Monmouthshire, the Real Veal Company, Cornwall, and Clare’s Organics, Oxfordshire.

The winner of the Made in Britain Awards will be announced at the Royal County of Berkshire Show, held at Newbury Showground in September.

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