Pie Times

Date:    Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Time:   3pm till…

What:   The 32nd annual Pie Championship & Symposium

Where: Vancouver, BC at what was described as the ‘big yellow house’ in East Van

Who:    Any food enthusiast with $5 to spare or who can make a pie for the competition

Who doesn't like pie?

Organized by the Association of Very Good Ideas, this pie championship brought out some of the more creative bakers in the city. Judged by a panel of 5 expert (pastry chefs, etc) and non-expert judges (a 9 year old boy, etc), the pies on display looked delectable, smelled wonderful and tasted… well, you’ll see…

I was excited from the moment I passed by the flyer on the street. They grabbed my attention with ‘pie’, sweetened the deal with  ‘tasting’ and won me over with ‘$5’. With no obligation to consume as much pie as possible, but with plans to do exactly that, I followed the online link and excitedly RSVP’d yes.

Eclectic and artistic types populated this event so the competition was fierce and there were no lame ‘apple’ pies (so last season!) polluting the creative concoctions laid before us.

The contenders please:

1. Rhubarb strawberry crumble pie –Yum! ©

2. Blackberry half-rent pie

3. Chardakopita (Savory ) -Yum! ©

4. Deep midnight chocolate truffle pie (Vegan ) – Yum! ©

5. Perfectly peachy best blueberry with spicy ginger chunks

6. Key Lime pie – Yum! ©

7. Pineapple & pine nut pie – Yum! ©

8. Provencale (Savory )

9. Wild Blackberry blueberry banana pie

10. Black bottom strawberry sateen pie – (Vegan)

11. Raspberry crust pie – Yum! ©

12. Rhubarb meringue pie – Yum! ©

13. Blueberry coconut cream – Vegan – Yum! ©

14. Blackberry mud pie – Yum! ©

15. Strawberry rhubarb pie  – Yum! ©

16. Salsa ‘ouch my face’ pie – Yum! ©

17. Kabuki coconut banana cocoa bliss cream pie

18. Decadent chocolate pie

19. Peach walnut brandy pie with lemon ginger crust

20. Pecan Brûlée – Yum! ©

21. No name, “Awesome” pie

22. Tourtière (savory)– Yum! ©

The event was set to start at 3pm. Arriving promptly at 3:45, I was handed a fork and a voting slip and was ready to taste some pies. I brought cash for cover, my appetite and a wheel barrel (to be carried home in, of course). Unfortunately at that time, only 7 (of 22) pies had arrived, with others still on the way and a few others baking away in a nearby oven. For over an hour we milled around temptation, only allowed to look at the untouchable pies as more arrived and even more still baked away in the ovens, their delicious aromas wafting over the crowd and adding to our ravenous hunger. Later, as I wandered wistfully past the pies once more, a beautiful and wonderful saint of a woman in front of the pie I was admiring, loudly asked the very obvious question:

Who wants to try my pie?

Without hesitation, I stepped up and accepted her challenge: I will try your pie.
At long last, the life-long pie related dream I didn’t know I had until today was about to be fulfilled. Unlimited pie tasting with no guilt (unlike at the grocery store with their “Miss you can’t do that here, we’re going to have to ask you to leave.” Humph.)

The best of the best

  • Pineapple & pine nut pie

Still warm from the oven (or maybe just the beating sun), this pie tasted heavenly. Tangy but still sweet, the filling was creamy and smooth with pops of pineapple and the crunch of pine nuts and the crust was buttery crisp.

  • Chardakopita

A savory pie made with crisp phyllo pastry filled with a mixture of swiss chard, feta, caramelized onion, dill, cream, garlic & various spices. Wow. It fell apart on my plate but was well worth the mess. Wonderful flavour and a recipe I will emulate when I have the need to eat a high calorie pie (perhaps prior to running a marathon…or 2)

  • Key Lime pie

I’ve had key lime pie before but never as good as this. Yum! My #1 pick along with the pineapple pine nut pie. It’ll be a difficult decision at the judging table.

  • Blueberry coconut creamVegan

Beautiful presentation and a light, fresh tasting pie. The kind of pie you can eat a lot of and not realize how many calories you’re consuming (hint: vegan does not equal low calorie).
This pie has a delicious crust and a thick, creamy, whipped cream tasting filling.

  • Deep midnight chocolate truffle pie -Vegan

Never really a chocolate fan when it comes to dessert, this pie was one of my favourites of the competition. A smooth, velvety rich chocolate taste, great presentation and bonus points for being a vegan pie and still being delicious. (sorry vegans but it’s true – vegan items have a tendency to taste…unique.)

  • Tourtière

Pies made with meat? This is always a must do. I tried this delicious,late entry, meat filled pie after I had already handed in my ballot. Phyllo pastry filled with free-range bison and seasonings, this delectable tourtière had a wonderful flavour and even though I was already stuffed, I still wanted more. Mmmm

  • Blackberry mud pie

Ingredients: dirt, blackberries, mud, sea shells, leafs and tree bark (wink, wink).
Creative presentation and accompanied by a cute back story (about being a kid on the beach and ‘baking’ with rocks and sea water and sand). This chocolate oreo crumble, dried mango bits, mint leaves, blackberries and more chocolate was a wonderful mix that evoked images of the beach without all that sand-in-my-food taste.

The rest of the rest

  • Coconut banana cocoa bliss cream pie

While contestant # 14 jokingly listed mud as an ingredient, ‘baker’ #17 may have actually included it. Yack! The consistency was similar to runny jello pudding with floating coconut, banana and blueberry chunks. Not to my liking at all but bonus points for creativity – pie soup (slop?).

  • Peach walnut brandy pie with lemon ginger crust vs. Perfectly peachy best blueberry with spicy ginger chunks

Ginger? Mmmm. These pies sounded so promising but where I felt they should have been sweet or at least spicy from the ginger, they both tasted bland (needed more sugar or perhaps a listing in the savory category…). Where the Perfectly Peachy wins points for presentation and a delicious crust, the Peach Walnut Pie had an unappealing heavy, doughy crust. On their own, they would be heaven a la mode, but sitting amongst several better tasting pies, any and all flaws were easy to taste.

  • Wild Blackberry blueberry banana pie

I hate blackberries. In fact I hate any berry with hard seeds that get stuck in your teeth (yah raspberries, I’m looking at you). With this bias in place, any pie that includes any of these offending fruits gets an automatic Nelleytimes ‘heck no!’ (#14 being the only and surprising exception to this rule). However this pie was a bigger offender than others. Even without blackberries, I thought the flavour was lacking and I didn’t bother to finish my sample.

It might have been a raw pie, which made it worse as heating/baking brings out the sweetness in all fruits and blends the ingredients together harmoniously. Unfortunately, this discord pie was in the listing for my choice for ‘worst pie’.

Creativity Counts

  • Salsa ‘ouch my face’ pie

Self explanatory. This type of pie won’t be in any pie eating contests any time soon. The homemade salsa looked and tasted great and fresh. However, I cannot in good conscious vote this as a best pie. Best salsa – yes! Best pie – not on my watch.

After tasting 21 different pies (#1-20, & #22), contestant #21 finally appeared with their unique interpretation of a pie. When I asked them the name of it, they paused and said “awesome pie”?

  • Contestant #21: No name, “Awesome” pie

They had pre-made little sample size pie cups and at the tasting competition, filled them up with a creamy concoction and served it to you so:

The baker's messy shirt is foreshadowing..

Lemme me help you with that...

Yes. Shoved right into your face whilst accidentally getting some in your mouth. People were signing up for this. Willingly too. I told you it was an eclectic crowd. Having already stuffed my own face with pie 21 times, I didn’t feel the need to get someone else to do it for me (where were you 21 pie samples ago??). Kudos to all those who liked getting pie smashed into their mouths. You only live once!

And the winner is….

At blog posting time, the official winners weren’t posted yet. I’ll update the blog with the official winners once available but for now:

Nelleytimes’ Pie Tasting Selections:

Best Sweet pie: #6 – Key lime pie

Best Savory pie: # 3 – Chardakopita (I actually liked the Tourtière- #22- best but it arrived after I had already cast my vote. Sigh.)

Best Vegan pie: #4 – Deep midnight chocolate truffle pie

Best overall: #6 – key lime pie

Worst overall (sorry but better luck next time…but hopefully you never make this ‘pie’ again): #17 – coconut banana cocoa bliss cream pie

*UPDATE (AUG 3)-  the Official Results are in:

BEST SWEET PIE –> Key Lime Pie with Vanilla Whip

BEST SAVORY PIE –> Bison Tourtière

BEST VEGAN PIE –> Vegan Black Bottom Strawberry Sateen Pie

BEST OVERALL –> Pecan Brûlée

WORST OVERALL BEST ALMOST CONTENDER (they renamed it to protect the sensitive creative types) –> the ‘awesome’ pie which was also renamed later to ‘Pie Smoothies’

Out of 22 pies, 13 got my Nelleytimes patented ‘Yum!’ © seal of approval. These are pies I would happily serve to my family and friends and would willingly marry and/or make love to – in a pinch. As I waddled home to a more than likely water and garden salad filled evening, I decided that it must have been glorious fate that led me to the flyer that led me to the facebook page which, in turn, led me to the blog (that I immediately bookmarked) which will keep me updated on any upcoming food related events in the near future.

The organizers host events like this all the time, using the proceeds towards rent and funding for other fun and original events. Hot sun, cool drinks (beer – yuck, and lemonade – yum!©), friendly people and all the yummy pie you could stuff down your gullet. All in all…

A very good idea.




Homage to the snubbed apple pie:

Want to make it unique? Bake it in a paper bag

Also, wow – only 145 minutes to make, woo. Anyone have 2.5 hours to spare tonight that you’ll never get back? 😉

Hi Melissa,

I received both your voicemail message and 2 emails today earlier today. Thank you for your interest in me. I would be more than happy to provide you with more details for this process.

Janelle @ Work

In a work setting, I am goal oriented, focused, and I pride myself on producing high quality work at all times. I have been volunteered to write and/or edit all internal and external communications from our group and nominated to plan and organize any and all internal events. My peers seek out my assistance for any escalation issues and our director has pointed out my peer appointed and respected leadership role. My ability to think outside the box has enabled me to create unique events and source original solutions.  Although I do appreciate managerial support and some direction/ status review, I excel when given a project with minimal parameters, some set expectations, a few goals as well as deadlines. Essentially, I care about all the projects I commit to and want to feel that empathy from those I work with and those I work for.

Corporate Marketing Experience

Event Planning

o Organized monthly and quarterly company meetings (nation wide)

o Designed and planned store events that increased awareness and generated increased foot traffic to our store

o Trade shows and store level events

Worked with vendors and suppliers on product promotion and integration

Reviewed and analyzed event data to produce detailed analysis for upcoming events

Analyzed weekly sales results for Store Directors and provided competitive analysis and comparison

Scripted 30-second radio advertisements

Communications to the company via daily emails/internal memos

Wrote content for, generated ideas from others and produced a quarterly newsletter

Wrote presidential speeches for public and internal events

Created store advertisements and special offers

Press releases

Janelle in 2 years

Travelling and working with a varied customer base. Working independently with one or several companies that rely on my flexibility and ability to produce stellar results with minimal direction. My career would be deeply entrenched in marketing, social media, events and public relations.

My experience is so varied and my knowledge so well rounded that I’m seeking a position to funnel my unlimited energy and drive into.

Janelle @ Play

I’m high energy and have issue with sitting still for too long in my spare time. To allay this excess, I frequent the gym and take several exercise classes such as boxing, spinning, an outdoor athletics class, as well as my new personal favourite– hot yoga, which is a 90-minute meditative class for the mind.

Social activities are important to me so I attend marketing and networking events and organize weekend trips away with my female friends as well as group outings to festivals and events in and around the city.

I’m also a freelance music editor for the online publication D.A.M. Magazine (www.Dammagazine.com), a fun role that allows me to source, connect and interview musicians from around the world. (Latest issue here, where I am a contributing writer)

In October 2009, I focused my love of writing and zest for life into a weekly blog that details fun events and activities from my optimistic point of view. Via various social marketing methods and positive word of mouth, it has since had over 11,000 hits and now averages 200 views/week.

Some example posts are:

  1. At a recent pie eating competition (it was delicious!)
  2. Reviewing a locally produced play and performance
  3. At a charity sporting event (complete with firefighters)
  4. Attending a food styling photography class

I have travelled to many countries around the world (in Europe, North America, and within the Caribbean) and these vacations have only fuelled my desire to see more of our vast world and to experience the many cultures within. My next top destinations include Australia, Japan, South Africa (definitely FIFA world cup influenced), and a trip back to France.

In answer to your specific questions:

What would your expected hourly rate be:

Ideally I would like $25 to $35/hour dependent on hours required and expenses covered by the company

What is your availability per day (between 4 and 8 hours):

Full time would be at least 8 hours/day of availability but as a part time position I would dedicate at least 20 hours a week or 4 hours/day to this exciting role

Please could you elaborate on your software / programming experience

Moderate to expert knowledge of all Microsoft office applications including Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint (beginner knowledge of MS Access)

Microsoft NetMeeting

Moderate skills in FrontPage, Adobe Acrobat, PhotoShop & InDesign (basic editing and page creation)

Moderate knowledge of Social Media Marketing Web 2.0 online tools (research, content optimization, SEO)

SalesForce.com – online sales and product management software

SAP – Financial and accounting software

Citrix/Ensemble: Customer Service software and database

Also, I’m a quick learner and recognize that most applications employ similar user interfaces to maximize accessibility

Where do you reside:

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Pacific Standard Time) but I am originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Eastern Standard Time) and am willing to relocate if required

Are you reliant on a fixed monthly income:

I have fixed monthly expenses that need to be covered each month (ex. rent, retirement savings contributions, provincial health care and utilities) but I purposely have no debt (no mortgage or credit card debt). However, a base monthly income is preferable to a potential of $0 income over a few months period if this is the case.

Do you have a home office set up:

Currently it consists of a desktop computer, printer, scanner, copier, laptop (for working away from home), with high-speed Internet access

My questions for you please:

  1. This position is listed as contract, what is the length of the contract and is there a potential for full time employment in the future?
  2. The position details mention Chicago, Montreal and a few other cities in North America. Would this position require any travel within Canada, the United States and South Africa?

Re-reading the job description, I am more excited than ever by the role and the possibility that this is the right career choice for myself and am assured that I’m the right candidate for Ventureweb.

Again, thank you for your interest and I hope to speak to you soon to discuss this position further.


Janelle Carter

C: +17782298818

@: Carterjj@shaw.ca

3 thoughts on “Pie Times

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