Leith butcher is crowned steak pie champion

A Leith butcher has seen off competition from the upper crust of the meat industry to be crowned the 2017 Scottish Craft Butchers Steak Pie Champion.

Friday, 15th September 2017, 11:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:34 am

The “crumbly crust” and perfect “steak to gravy ratio” from James Anderson butchers sealed the deal with judges to earn the butcher the crown of best steak pie in Scotland.

Owner John Henderson said: “I’m chuffed to death.

“I’m not only chuffed for me, but for my staff.

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“My father always told me you had to have four good things in the shop: good sausages, good mince, good pies and good staff – and I have all four.

“We have done nothing different, we have used the same recipe for years.

“I have never changed the recipe, the gravy mix or the cooking method.

“It is the first time that I have ever entered a competition and I am delighted, and particularly delighted for the staff who have done the job properly.

“All I would put it down to is good beef, properly cooked.

“There’s no secret recipe, it’s all just hard work.”

Mr Henderson added: “Now we’re just the same as Hibs – we’ve got one Scottish Cup each.”

The butchers on Great Junction Street fought off more than 250 competitors to become champions.

Judges said the standard of pies was particularly high this year.

The competition heats were held at Forth Valley College in Stirling last month, with the final being held at the University of Abertay.

Mystery shoppers also visited all of the butchers to make sure that the pies they were selling their customers were of the same standard as the ones entered into the competition.

Anderson’s won the South East of Scotland Regional Championship before defeating four other regional champions in a second stage.

The judging panel was made up of 24 experts, food writers and pie lovers.

All of the pies were tested for appearance, baking, uniformity, pastry texture and flavour, filling, steak quality, consistency of gravy, balance of meat to gravy, seasoning, taste and flavour.

According to judge Jon Wilkinson of Abertay, it was a close call at this year’s competition as the standard was remarkably high.

He said: “We were impressed by the entries to this year’s Steak Pie competition, the qualities of the finalists were above what we expected.

“The scores were close – in fact they were so close that we spent some time afterwards discussing the different products.”

James Anderson’s entry was still the stand-out winner in Mr Wilkinson’s opinion.

“However, this one had to be the winner,” he said.

“We felt that the crumbly pastry was the perfect attribute to this product, crisp but not dry or oily.

“The winning factor for us was the succulent nature and quality of the steak within the pie, including the steak to gravy ratio.

“We felt this pie reflected well on one of Scotland’s national dishes and we encourage all consumers to try this product.”