In the Mood for the World Pie-Making Championship

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Version FrancaiseMonday evening, December the 2nd, I had the chance to be at the Chapoutier Winery in Tain L’Hermitage where the 5th edition of World Championship In Pâté Croute (pie crust or meat pie) was held. This traditional dish, which brings together in one, three craftsmanship’s : cook,  charcuterie and pastry, has indeed its own competition. This may seem unlikely and  a bit funny, but it’s quite serious and  many days and nights have been spent to prepare for the competition and preparations.

In France, it’s a common dish. Everyone knows it but unfortunately it’s been a little bit put aside and trivialized as often hidden in bland industrial recipes and misrepresented in school kitchens or at evening aperitif , hidden behind  low -end beer and chips. This is unfortunate because well prepared, it’s delicious : properly married with a good wine or a beer, it’s heaven in mouth and a great dish to  share both at home, in a restaurant, or during a pick nick.

Ripped off  and copy-pasted without shame from the official contest rules; here are the basis of this prestigious competition : “The competition is open exclusively to professionals from the catering industry (restaurateurs, bakers, pastry chefs, caterers) with a minimum of 5 years experience in the industry. The competition takes place in three stages, the jury carry’s out blind tasting of the pies and  the competition end with 12 finalists and one winner. The pastry, appearance and taste are marked separately.”

We arrived at the World Pie-Making Championship at 7pm and were greeted by our “old” friend Marius (white Viognier IGP Pays 2012). The atmosphere was at the rendezvous. The first layer of joy was well prepared by the excitement of the public as well as beautiful Chapoutier bottles. There was a strange mix between craft and fine dining. Lovely dresses and furs, blue-white- red collars, the renowned wine and all this to frame a dish that is often served in  traditional restaurants, which is made from the most simple and accessible butcher’s pieces, by artisans who don’t usually frequent the world of haute cuisine. The friendly and cheerful atmosphere that we experienced that  evening showed that the two worlds can be perfectly in harmony.

Chef Keishi Sugimura waiting for the resultspate7

Chef Audrey Jacquier and Chef Eric Metivier (winner of the 2010 édition)
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Alongside the competition, there is also the brotherhood of Pie Crust who aims the promotion of French meat pies. Before the announcement of the winner of the 5th edition of the Championship, new members were knighted to the brotherhood (with a real sword of course), among others Anthony Bourdain, the Franco American chef and culinary journalist for CNN and author of the famous book Kitchen Confidential, a novel that I devoured several times. Another member of the brotherhood is Marjorie Fenestre who has raised the subject with passion several times on her blog Faim de Lyon.

Anthony Bourdain, knight of the Pie Crust Brotherhoodpate10

My favourite pie was made by of Michel Aninat, but the winners of the World Championship Pie Crust 2013 were as follows:

1st Prize for Mr Jean- François Malle – Le Pavillon de la Rotonde 

2nd prize for Mr. Keishi SUGIMURA – Le Bénaton 

3rd prize for Mr Lucas MIOSOTTI – Les Trois Dômes

Chef Jean- François Malle surrounded by the crème de la crème of gastronomypate5

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As usual in the professional food world, there are not many women. The only in finals this year was Audrey Jacquier from the restaurant Le Vivarais in Lyon. And I agree with Dominique Loiseau, who said she would like to see more women in competitions. I’m glad I didn’t fail to congratulate chef Jacquier for her courage and good performance.

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I want to believe that this event was under the watchful eye of Saint Laurent, Saint Michel and Saint Anthony, the saint patrons of cooks, bakers and caterers, as a great team work was taking place between the various professions.

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Roasted small birds on our menu
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Second prize
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