New Zealand’s first Vegan Pie Awards took place on November 1 (World Vegan Day) at plant-based restaurant The Butcher’s Son. The idea for the competition stemmed from local baker Philippa Stephenson who was barred from submitting vegan entries to compete in the well-known Bakels Supreme Pie Awards competition. “They said no vegans,” Stephenson said. “And I thought, ‘Well, this is rubbish. I sell hundreds and hundreds of these pies a day.’” Stephenson partnered with organization Vegan Society of Aotearoa New Zealand to create the vegan competition. “Here was another example of the food industry not accepting that vegan food was a real category,” Stephenson continued. “The prestige of having a Bakels Pie Award would be the pinnacle of my career, but I’m not prepared to eat an animal to get one.” The Vegan Pie Awards featured 90 competing pies in seven flavor categories (both sweet and savory) judged by local chefs and celebrities for their excellence in taste, appearance, texture, pastry qualities, and glaze. Auckland-based (non-vegan) bakery Richoux Patisserie was crowned the winner of six categories and took top honors with its vegan spiced apple and blueberry pie.