Another taste of success for Wanaka pie maker

Kai Pai Bakery dispatch manager Julie Danielson and head baker Jason Danielson with his prize...
Kai Pai Bakery dispatch manager Julie Danielson and head baker Jason Danielson with his prize-winning chicken, leek and bacon pie and the New Zealand Bakels Gold award. PHOTO: KERRIE WATERWORTH
Constantly thinking about how to improve your pie recipe or inventing a new one is the only way to keep winning awards, Wanaka’s national award-winning pie maker says.

Kai Pai Bakery head baker Jason Danielson had his best result at New Zealand’s premier Bakels Supreme Pie Awards in Auckland on Tuesday night winning gold in the chicken and vegetable category (with his chicken, leek and bacon pie), silver for his steak and gravy pie, bronze in the gourmet meat category (for his chicken, leek, mushroom and bacon pie), and three other placings in the top 10.

He said both he and his wife Julie Danielson talk about pies all the time and were discussing "what we could do next year" on the flight back from Auckland yesterday morning.

"You have to always keep trying. If you don’t keep inventing you won’t beat anyone because they are so clever up there [in Auckland]," Mr Danielson said.

The Gold Award was the second consecutive time Kai Pai Bakery won best overall for the chicken and vegetable category, having won the accolade in 2019. The awards were not held in 2020 due to Covid-19.

Mr Danielson said it was his favourite recipe — there was no secret ingredient, "just cook slowly and add salt and pepper".

Mr Danielson has been making pies for 35 years but this year he decided it was time to start a bakery apprenticeship.

"I have never done it before and we were given money for apprentices, so I decided to do it. You have just got to keep learning," Mr Danielson said.

The Whistling Frog, of the Catlins, won a bronze in the cafe boutique category.

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