Media release

Who ate all the pies? 

British Pie Week

11 March 2016

Alex judging



This week is British Pie Week which means Alex Connell, Principal Tutor of the Vegetarian Society Cookery School has tasted lots of gorgeous vegetarian pies! Alex judged at the British Pie Awards where the vegetarian pie class was sponsored by the Vegetarian Society.

Alex said, “Having been invited to judge the vegetarian pie class at the British Pie Awards for the second year I knew what I was getting myself involved with …lots of lovely pies! Before judging started we were given instructions on what to look for in a great pie - an even bake, good filling, plenty of flavour and, naturally, no soggy bottoms. As the serious business of judging started you realise that each pie has its own individual characteristics. I loved being a judge, it was a real pleasure. Thank you to all of the fabulous bakers that offered such wondrous creations. The countdown is on until next year.”

The winning pie will be announced on the British Pie Award website.

So what makes a good vegetarian pie for Alex? Well here are his top ten tips:

1. If you have never made a pie, remedy that today. Pies are a creation of love and art.

2. Use store-bought pastry - this will let you concentrate on the filling and, of course, the eating!

3. If you do want to make your own pastry use twice as much flour as vegetable fat, a pinch of salt and a little chilled water. Rub the fat into the flour with the tips of your fingers, add the salt and water, then bring together as a dough. Wrap and allow to chill for at least 10 minutes. Roll out on a lightly floured surface.

4. Is a pie a proper pie without a base? I tend to make them at home with just a top. You get a hit of pastry but with half the calories. Although I accept some would insist on a base. 

5. Let your filling cool before putting the pastry lid on. Otherwise the hot filling will steam the pastry from the underneath and become soggy. 

6. Vegetable suet is ideal for a vegetarian suet pastry.

7. Plain shortcrust pastry is good for either sweet or savoury pies. Simply sprinkle a little sugar on the top for a sweet version.

8. What to fill your savoury pies with? The beauty of creating your own is you can fill them with whatever takes your fancy. Curry, chilli, leftover vegetables, asparagus, cheese and onion…the list goes on.

9. Gravy is a must with most pies, I am from the North.

10. For inspiration on pie recipes visit 

The Vegetarian Society Cookery School has a range of courses for the general public and for those working in the catering industry. Courses are designed to increase knowledge and skills in vegetarian and vegan food.  The school based in Altrincham is dedicated to teaching small groups in modern training kitchens. The courses are backed by nearly 170 years of Vegetarian Society experience and accredited by the Independent Cookery Schools Association (the school is a founding member of the association).

Find out more at or follow the school on Twitter @vegsoc_cookery and Plus follow the school at


Notes for editors

•For more press information please contact Su 0161 925 2012 email mobile 07973 108 165.

•A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacea, or the by-products of slaughter.

•Diary date: National Vegetarian Week 2016 is from 16-22 May, contact Su for info.


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The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom Limited, Parkdale, Dunham Road, Altrincham WA14 4QG
Registered Charity No. 259358, Registered Company No. 959115 (England and Wales)

Fundraising Regulations