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(May, 2009) - The American Pie Council is proud to announce the commercial bakery winners from the 15th Annual APC/Crisco® National Pie Championships held April 24-26, 2009 in conjunction with the APC Great American Pie Festival sponsored by Crisco®.
At the annual event, which took place at the Ramada Orlando Celebration Resort and Convention Center in Celebration, Fla., bakers of all skill levels, all ages, and all degrees of training, from all over the United States and Canada, participated in a bake-off to determine North America's best Commercial bakeries as well as Professional, Amateur and budding Junior Chefs.
Commercial pies were judged in more than 130 categories based on flavor, wholesale cost and size of the pie. Independent bakers with $1 million or less in annual pie sales were placed in their own category within the commercial bakers' competition. Commercial pie categories included Apple, Blueberry, Fruit/Berry, Open Cream, Citrus, Open, Nut and Chocolate, and Raisin, sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board. Not only did winners in each category take home a prestigious title, but also, winning an award at the National Pie Championships has been proven to increase market share of that product.
This year's top commercial entrants are listed in order of their number of winning pies:
"The Pie Championship and Festival is a wonderful celebration of a critically important segment of the baking industry - pies. From the larger commercial pie bakers to the amateur contestants, it was a lot of fun to be part of the pie family and experience their passion," said Robb MacKie, President & CEO American Bakers Association. "It also needs to be recognized that these important industry events don't just happen, they require countless hours of tireless leadership from Linda and Rich Hoskins as well as the support of the numerous volunteers. As President & CEO of the American Bakers Association, I was honored to be invited to participate."
This year, 138 bakers entered close to 900 pies in the competition with 465 commercial, 130 professional and 266 amateur pies. The event drew more than 170 judges, including Kim Montello, Johnson and Wales University, Jim Whaples, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, and professional chefs such as Robert Paulk, Certified Master Baker, and David Ramirez, Executive Pastry Chef at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando and 2009 captain of Team USA in the Coupe du Monde (World Pastry Cup), as well as many food writers and editors. Judges also included everyday pie lovers who were selected through an application process. Talented pie makers came from 28 states, from as far away as Washington, California and parts of Canada.
"We applaud all of our commercial baking entrants and winners, particularly Bakers Square with an astounding 34 wins," said Linda Hoskins, Executive Director of the APC. "Through their professionalism, quest for excellence and competitive spirit, our commercial bakers continue to raise the pie standard higher and higher each year, making this not only a prestigious event but a fun event as well."
The APC/Crisco® National Pie Championships and the Great American Pie Festival, which featured 70,000 slices of pie in the Never Ending Pie Buffet, attracted more than 25,000 people to downtown Celebration during the two-day event. Leftover slices from the Never Ending Pie Buffet and commercial competition were donated to Feeding America (formerly known as America's Second Harvest) to help fight hunger in Central Florida. Throughout the weekend event, the Food Network filmed a one-hour "pie challenge" special with top pastry chef and host Keegan Gerhard that will air in fall 2009. Popular TV personality Willard Scott from the Today Show also attended the pie making and eating festivities.
Crisco® is a registered trademark of The J. M. Smucker Company. For more information, visit www.crisco.com
The American Pie Council offers individual membership for amateurs as well as professionals and commercial bakers. Pie lovers receive multiple benefits including the "Pie Times" e-newsletter, membership directory and member-only online "pie talk" access for idea exchange, pie recipes, coupons and discounted entry into the annual APC/Crisco National Pie Championships.
The American Pie Council is the only organization committed to maintaining America's pie heritage, passing on the tradition of pie-making and promoting America's love affair with pie.
For more details, to become a member of the APC or to register for the National Pie Championships, visit www.piecouncil.org
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