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Macleans Highland Bakery and Murdoch Brothers Butchers shortlisted for World Scotch Pie Champion of Champions title

By Garry McCartney

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TWO local businesses have been shortlisted for the ‘Champion of Champions’ category of a national competition.

Having won the World Scotch Pie championships in 2003 and 2010 respectively, Maclean's Highland Bakery and Murdoch Brothers Butchers are in the running for the ultimate title with 13 other previous winners in a taste-off by two pie experts who will determine which product looks and tastes the best.

Organisers Scottish Bakers chief executive, Alasdair Smith, explained that coronavirus restrictions meant that the event's annual November judging day was not possible nor the awards lunch in January.

He said: "We've taken the decision to run the competition with some changes for this year to ensure the awards retain their place in the annual calendar.

"We've invited all previous World Scotch Pie Champions to enter their winning Scotch Pie into a 2021 Champions of Champions competition. They will be asked to submit their pies for a socially distanced judging with head judge Ian Nelson. Judging will be blind as always and an independent auditor will be on hand to oversee proceedings to ensure fairness all round."

The competition is partnering with the Scottish Craft Butchers in the Champion of Champions category.

Executive manager Gordon King said: "In these difficult times it is more important than ever to recognise the traditional skills and hard work that goes in to develop and produce a truly iconic Scottish product. We look forward to seeing the past champions of butchers, bakers and all pie makers, do battle to see who will be crowed the best of the best."

The competition, which has run for 22 years, highlights the fantastic pastry products that bakers and butchers create every day.

Lewis Maclean (Maclean's Highland Bakery) has been shortlisted for Scotch Pie of the Year.
Lewis Maclean (Maclean's Highland Bakery) has been shortlisted for Scotch Pie of the Year.

Maclean's managing director Lewis Maclean confirmed winning in 2003 was "fantastic".

He said: "The publicity was great for business and appeared in every newspaper and on the TV. We were so busy making pies for months.

"It's great that Forres has had two champions. The competition keeps us on our toes."

On Scotch pies, Lewis added: "There are a few things that make a pie special - the pastry, the meat and most of all the seasoning. Also, some peppers taste different when hot and cold."

Aiden Murdoch is also in the running to land the award.
Aiden Murdoch is also in the running to land the award.

Fourth generation Murdoch butchers factory manager Aiden Murdoch is proud of the standard of pies in Forres and agreed that the World Scotch Pie championships promote the products to a wider audience.

He said: "I think Murdoch's pies are the best but everyone has different tastes and there's plenty room for us all! There are quality ingredients in ours. It's very important that our customers are satisfied so we make them to a high standard rather than aiming for a lower price bracket. We sell a lot of them!

"The pies are judged by a panel so on any particular day they might choose different winners. However, we're in the Champion of Champions category this time so we are all winners already!"

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