Source: The Australian, Wednesday, 23 July, 1997, p.5
By LEISA SCOTT FRANK Goldstein has a dream. That one day, every Australian family will sit down once a week and tuck into a meat pie, some mushy peas, mashed potato and sauce. He prefers black sauce, but he's flexible on that. Of course, he'd like all the pies to come from Goldstein's Bakery on the Gold Coast-the newly crowned 1997 Great Aussie Meat Pie competition winner-but remember, it is a dream. But Mr Goldstein estimates his output of 43,000 pies a week will quadruple once news of his champion title gets out. "This puts the meat pie under the microscope for the Australian public," said a very proud Mr Goldstein yesterday. And so it does. For five days, 10 judges have been prodding and nibbling their way through about 600 pies from all over Australia, searching for that pie with the right weight (between 180 and 225gms), a flakey top, an "ungluggy" base, a tasty but not too runny, not too solid, filling and an enticing aroma. "AU in all, that whole pie should look like, 'Mmmm, I want to eat that'," says John Ross, the national co- ordinator of the GAMP competition and a committed pie lover. Of course, there are definite no-nos. Two lots of gristle and you're out and any sign of tubing (industry speak for offal) and it's immediate dismissal no second chance. Raise the delicate issue of a few stray rats' legs or tails and Mr Ross grows mockingly defensive. "Never heard of them," he says. In fact, it was the growing denigration of the pie which led Mr Ross and his partner Craig Perry (both from the baking industry) to strike upon the idea of a competition while eating one of the "much maligned Aussie meat pies" nine years ago. It was time to instil a bit of pride back into the meat pie, they thought, and embarked on creating the comp- etition to promote excellence. Now, he says: "Every person you talk to knows their favourite pie shop and they will tell you that that shop makes the best meat pies in Australia." Mr Ross believes pie consumption was on a decline prior to the GAMP competition but is now on the increase, with 29.9 million pies eaten in 1995, according to the Australian Meat and Livestock Foundation. Mr Ross has found that the type of pie you prefer may depend on where you live. "Queenslanders mainly like chunky pies, Victoria is a bit of chunk, a bit of mince, in Sydney or NSW you get the mince, not so much the chunk, other parts of Australia you get a graduation between chunk and mince," Mr Ross says. And in its study, the AMLF has found that steak and mushroom is a favourite in Queensland and NSW, Victorians like steak and onion, while the Tasmanians go for the steak and kidney. If you're a bloke, you'll eat more than twice as many as women. Mr Ross says gourmet pies are growing in popularity, with three times as many entered in their different categories this year as when introduced three years ago. Everything from buffalo to goat to pumpkin made its way in the competition this year and Mr Ross is now working on his own dream of a gourmet competition split into five categories - pork, chicken, fish, game, and miscellaneous. "Wouldn't that be great?" asks the misty-eyed pie man.
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