Hampden is pie central

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Hampden can arguably call itself the pie capital of North Otago, after two pies created in the town made the top 10 in their category at the New Zealand pie awards recently.
A seafood pie created by Hampden Four Square’s Sandy Ratahi and a paua pie made by Tim Lockerbie, of Vanessa’s Cottage Cafe, came sixth and ninth respectively in the cafe boutique category.
Ms Ratahi, who has been working as a baker for only about six weeks, said her chosen pie included blue cod, mussels, scallops, shrimp, smoked hoki and “secret spices”.
“The hard-case thing is I can’t stand seafood.”
She was inspired to enter the pie after a customer came into the store, bought one, ate it in the car park and promptly came back in to buy the rest of the available pies.
“He said it was the best seafood pie he’d ever had,” she said.
Ms Ratahi was delighted her pie cracked the top 10 at the awards.
“I could have screamed but I didn’t … it was incredible. I’m still buzzing from it now.”
Hampden Four Square owner John Dimelow said he couldn’t be happier for her success.
“Absolutely, I’m proud. It just goes to show if you have a bit of faith in your staff and they try their best to achieve, the passion will flow from that. To come sixth in her first attempt is outstanding.”
Mr Lockerbie was also pleased with his result for his effort, which contained paua, cream, pepper and lemon juice, despite leaving it to the last minute.
“I usually put onion in too, but I was in a bit of a rush and didn’t add it … it’s not a bad effort, being close to not having a pie and getting in the top 10.”
He said pies could be added to the list of Hampden’s sought-after foods, along with fish and chips from Lockie’s and ice creams from the Four Square.
Both bakers planned to enter the awards again next year.
Mr Lockerbie said he had an idea of what he would enter but would not say.
“I can’t tell you what kind of pie it will be. It’s a secret. We want to give those Aucklanders a run for their money.”