Nathan Bowes has a hand in the making of every pie that leaves the Elmore Bakery.
After completing his apprenticeship in Bendigo, he bought the business three years ago. This year he decided he was ready to enter the Official Great Aussie Meat Pie Competition.
His aspirations paid off fivefold with the bakery receiving an award for each entry put forward.
Each year, thousands of entrants submit four samples of each pie with competition staff then selecting the best three for judging.
Judges look for a nice, even bake on the pastry, with no charcoal or burning on the bottom. The finished pastry must be the correct thickness, not too thick, and not too thin. Ideally the finished pie should have a 2mm to 3mm base thickness.
To come away with an award for all five pies entered was a thrill for Nathan and partner, Dee. Their pizza pie received a gold medal, the lamb and rosemary pie a silver medal while the steak, Mexican and bushman’s pies were all awarded bronze medallions.
“This was the first year we’ve entered so we’re extremely happy to come away with a gold medal. It was such a thrill to have success in every category we entered,” Nathan said.
“Our cheese and bacon pie used to be the most popular, but now it’s the pizza pie.”
Nathan, with one apprentice, produces a range of 13 gourmet pies with average daily sales of up to 200. Not bad for a town with a population of only 668.
Nathan attributes much of the bakery’s success to Elmore’s location.
“Our reputation has spread by word of mouth. Three major highways converge at Elmore so there are always lots of caravanners and travellers calling in,” he said.
“Pies are our speciality but we make great bread, cakes and pasties as well.”
Fortunately, Nathan loves working nights; he starts baking between midnight and 4am each day depending on orders.
“I just love the trade. I don’t think I could do a day job, I’m so used to being a night owl,” he said.
The Elmore Bakery is at 104 Railway place, Elmore.