Seventh generation baker Nerida Rudolph and her team at Samuel Gee Pies and Pastries has taken out Australia's Best Pastie Competition in 2021.
The Southern Highlands bakery took home the top gong for their British Isle Feast Pastie (Cornish pastie) from a selection of more than 2000 entries across 346 bakeries.
The Baking Australia Association competition ran from May 25 - May 27 2021.
Nerida said she and her team were close to not entering the competition.
"It was the week from hell," she said.
"We put the entry forms in a month before and the week of the competition our chef, Michael, fell in the shower and we thought he had broken his leg.
"So I called the competition and told them we couldn't enter, but they told us we had time."
After some gentle persuasion from the competition organiser Tony Smith, Nerida entered several pies.
"We made some pies, but to win the pie competition, you've got to take the time," she said.
"It's a lot of fiddling around. We basically entered pies that were coming out of the oven, pies that we make every day.
"Then on Wednesday night, I said to my husband that if I had any chance of entering anything else, I would have to have to start at 2 am on Thursday.
"So I did."
Nerida said that for some reason she knew the Cornish pastie had to be right.
"That recipe has been in my family for five generations," she said.
"It's pretty old, and it comes from Cornwall. There's a lot of history in our shop.
"I just knew I had to get it right."
The Cornish pastie isn't the only family recipe handed down. All of the recipes used are family recipes handed down from one generation to the next.
Nerida said she was busy on the day and didn't get a chance to check the results until 6:30 pm on Thursday.
"I jumped on the website, and it said Samuel Gee's won the best pastie," she said.
"I was like oh my god. It was hilarious.
"We are really proud. Pastie's aren't as popular as pies, but if they are made right, they are really good."
Not only did Samuel Gee Pies and Pastries take out the top gong for its Cornish pastie but they also walked away with several silver and bronze awards for their pies.
The win is the icing on the cake for Nerida and her team after a tumultuous year of fires, floods and Covid-19.
"It's been tough the last 12 months since Covid hit, it's been up and down," she said.
"I often put a post up on Facebook to say thank you to the community in the Southern Highlands because without them we would not be here.
"It's the support of the Highlands that has kept us going in the year and a half we've been open. They've all supported us."
Samuel Gee's was only open for six months before the first Covid lockdown began in March 2020.
"We had to pack up our chairs and tables because it was takeaway only," Nerida said.
"I didn't know how we were going to survive.
"A lady came in on a Friday and she was going from shop to shop trying to spend $20 at local shops to support local business.
"So I put a post up in Just Ask Southern Highlands Facebook page and mentioned what the lady did.
"The next day the queue was out the door and around the corner and we realised that people didn't know where we were.
"Without locals, we wouldn't be here."
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