The long-awaited annual American Pie Council National Pie Championships will soon be celebrating its 22nd consecutive year naming the nation's top commercial, professional and amateur pie makers. This year's event will take place April 28-30 at the Caribe Royale in Orlando.
Bringing competitors and cooking co-conspirators together since 1995, the annual pie competition celebrates the All-American pie and honors those that dedicate their baking skills to creating award-winning pastry treasures.
"Pie is the cornerstone of American kitchens, bringing family, friends and loved ones together year after year over a simple, delicious piece of our nation's heritage," said Linda Hoskins, executive director for the American Pie Council. "Our annual championships are an opportunity for the best in the business to an engage in a healthy battle of the senses. There's always lots of fun, a healthy dose of competition, an unparalleled opportunity to showcase your abilities to pie aficionados around the country and increase your market share."
Open to amateur pie makers, professionals and commercial pie manufacturers from throughout the country and Canada, judges grant awards based on appearance, taste, consistency, crust, and the overall product, offering opportunities for companies to get their pie in the limelight - and substantially increase their sales and market share in that category.
Of the 797 entries to the 2015 competition, 435 were in the commercial division and claimed 136 awards. The top three entrants dominating the charts were Bakers Square with 37 winning pies, followed by Legendary Baking with 30 and Bonert's Foods with 19.
This year's commercial entrants will compete in 26 flavor categories -- including apple, chocolate cream, citrus, peanut butter, berry, and best new product -- as well as a new commercial division category this year -- chicken pot pie.
"This is the first time in 22 years we've ever introduced a savory pie in any of our divisions," said Hoskins. "We're always looking for inventive and timely new categories. Savory goes so well with sweet and pot pies are certainly a hot trend."
The commercial division championships will be held on April 28 and 29, and requires a $125 fee per pie entry for APC members, and a $250 fee for non-members. Participants are encouraged to register as early as possible to ensure a spot in the competition, as registration prices increase after March 25. Visit piecouncil.org to find out more and obtain an entry form for the competition.
By entering, participants will not only have the opportunity to sweeten their commercial sales by winning awards, but can attend an array of pie-related workshops, seminars and live demos at the Pie Learning Center. Two days of pie industry events range from a seminar on pie trends courtesy of Nielsen Perishables Group; More on Dough with chef Kim Montello, DRMB, Johnson & Wales; Kevin Hatline with Alchemy Systems; a luncheon sponsored by the American Bakers Association and an awards cocktail reception courtesy of Colborne Foodbotics and D&W Fine Foods. Many local pastry chefs, as well as other pie-related businesses will be presenting.
For the second year, the APC will also be hosting the Give Kids the World Pie Party to benefit the national charity located in Orlando. On Saturday, April 30, from 4-6 p.m., guests are invited to a free event featuring an apron fashion show, pie eating contests, an Iron Pie Chef Competition, a 200-pound pie courtesy of Legendary Baking and more! $10 tickets good for two slices of pie from commercial participants and coffee or tea will be sold at the event to benefit the charity.
For more information, please visit piecouncil.org.