SARA PUCKRIN,

Special to The Standard

SCUGOG: We have never had a tie in the contest’s history, so this year was a real nail-biter, as our judges were deadlocked in their choice for best pie until a different last-minute donor reached out to offer a second $1000 prize.

The judges were Christy Stone, owner of the Piano Cafe & Tanya Prodanovic of Culinary Contessa Catering Co. They are both local business owners, and both are graduates of George Brown College Culinary School, one of the top chef schools in Canada!

The judges rated the pies based on overall appearance, pastry consistency and flavour and consistency of the filling.

We had a total of 15 entries, and entrants ranged in age from approx 12 years old to 60 years old. Our record number of entries happened in 2019 with 40 entries.

Interestingly, one of our first prize winners, Taylor Dallas, is the son of third-place winner, Darryl Dallas! Our other first-place winner was Steven Ardron. Both first-place winners have entered in previous men’s baking competitions at the Port Perry Fair, but this was their first win.

The contest’s purpose is to get men involved in a competition which may not normally be seen as the domain of men, in a fun, friendly way. One of our contestants, who placed in this year’s competition, later shared, as a man who had never done any baking before, he felt more comfortable entering the contest knowing he was competing against other contestants who may also have been quite novice in their baking abilities. He was also proud to share with his young son, the idea of challenging yourself and stepping outside your comfort zone, and how it can be a really rewarding, growth experience, which perfectly captures the spirit of the competition.

During the judging, the Outback Cloggers performed on the second stage in the Entertainment Shelter, to keep things lively while the judges really took their time to evaluate each entry. The judges were very thorough, so it was a lengthy process, but the audience was patient, even though they were clearly very eager to hear the contest results, and to sample the pies. All pies, except the winners which went to the anonymous donors, were sliced up and served to the crowd when the competition was finished. This is a highlight of the competition and really helps to keep the audience involved and invested in the proceedings.

We plan to repeat this competition next year, and we have another sponsor who has stepped forward to get another competition going for women’s baking, with its own $1000 prize, in 2023! All details will be available on the Port Perry Fair website next year, when information becomes available for the 2023 Fair.