The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Meet Beau Corric – 2024 Apprentice Pie Maker Award winner!

Meet Beau Corric – 2024 Apprentice Pie Maker  Award winner!

Beau Corric from Euro Patisserie in Torbay has won the 2024 Apprentice Pie Maker Award for his slow-cooked venison, roast vegetables, cranberry and red wine sauce pie, and his mince and cheese entry.

The Apprentice Pie Maker Award is a national competition open to all bakers studying for their NZ Certificate in Trade Baking. There are two categories in the competition, mince and cheese, and gourmet meat.

Second place went to Lianna MacFarlane of U-Bake in Timaru with her smoked chicken and leek pie, with third place going to Benjamin Crosby of The Baker in Tirau for his slow-cooked Angus beef pie with bacon and mushroom.

To win Apprentice Pie Maker both pies have to be awarded the highest marks during judging. NZ Bakels managing director, Brent Kersel said the standard of entries at judging day on June 12 was so high it was almost like judging the Bakels NZ Supreme Pie Awards.

“The idea of the competition is they make the whole pie from scratch, the pastry and the filling. They have to make a mince and cheese pie, and a gourmet meat pie that they can make to their discretion.

“It’s great to see the flare they put into some of these pies.

“The competition displays what apprentices have learnt and what they can do in the bakery; entrants have a greater understanding. And winning this competition gives them recognition and helps them forward their careers.”

Beau says the idea for his gourmet meat pie came from tasting venison for the first time when he bought a pie at a Foxton bakery. Last year he placed 2nd in the Apprentice Pie Maker Award with a venison and cheese pie but decided to take it to the next level for this year’s entry by adding cranberry and red wine sauce.

Currently in his second of a three-year apprenticeship with Sopheap Long and Bunna Hout at Euro Patisserie, Beau says he started as a school student part-time employee nearly five years ago and it led to permanent employment and the offer of an apprenticeship.

Beau says of his win: “I was pretty shocked when I heard about it in the morning. I was half asleep and then I get the call and ah ‘you’ve won!’ and it was quite a big surprise for me. We were all standing there in the bakery, trying to keep it in, while I was talking on the phone and then afterwards we all celebrated. My family was definitely happy about it when I came home and told them. They were really excited.”  

Sopheap Long says: “Beau has been working with me in the bakery since he was about 15 years old and in high school. This year he has won first place and we are all so proud of him.”

Beau’s venison pie is on sale in the shop and Sopheap says it is really popular, especially with the cranberry and red wine flavour. “Last year he didn’t add the cranberry. He had the roast vegetables and cheese and this year he wanted to do something different with the venison. When I tasted it, it was like ‘oh my god’ it just melted in your mouth and especially with the roast veggies as well; just beautiful!”

When not working Beau likes to go and try pies in different places of New Zealand and it was in Foxton that he tasted venison in a pie.

“I saw a bakery and went in and there was one pie that was venison and gravy with camembert. I tried that and that’s how I got the idea. It was really good and I hadn’t tried something like this before. It was the first time I’d tried venison and it was way better than steak with no fat or skin. So I thought I’d give it a go and see if anyone else likes it.”

Beau says he is very grateful to Sopheap and Bunna for giving him the opportunity to become a baker and for giving him the skills to succeed. “Without them I wouldn’t even know how to make a pie.”

He’d also like to thank NZ Bakels. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.” Beau will be presented with his award at the Bakels NZ Supreme Pie Awards on July 30.

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