A LIFE of pie has led to success in a nationwide culinary competition for a family business in Nailsworth.

The best-selling Breton chicken pie produced by Plenty! Pies has been named among the best in the country.

Entering the national competition, British Pie Awards, for the first time beat 100 other pies from around the country to win the gold award for the chicken category. Hosted by Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association the Breton pie impressed a panel of 110 judges, including national food writers Charles Campion, Xanthe Clay and Felicity Cloake and TV chefs Andy Bates and Rachel Green. The panel tasted hundreds of pies in 19 classes for the appearance, texture and flavour of both pastry and filling.

The British Pie Awards attract thousands of entries every year and the award ceremony was held in Melton Mowbray, the home of the traditional pork pie. Plenty! pie director and chef Marc Birch creates all the recipes for more than 150 savoury fillings. He says, “We are thrilled to win such a fantastic accolade – it’s a tribute to our small team who care about the quality of each and every pie.”

Matthew O'Callaghan, chairman of the pork pie association said: "Congratulations go to all our winners, whose achievement this year is remarkable.

“Our aim is to recognise the hard work, skill and passion of the nation's pie makers and the judging panel and organisers were all bowled over by the standard of entries.

“Thanks must go to all who entered this year's awards - together we have shown there is nothing humble about the British pie."

Plenty! pies specializes in gourmet fillings comprising unusual combinations of ingredients, ranging from squid and chorizo to Cotswold venison. With a small team of local staff, Marc and his wife Kate, who started the company three years ago, make everything from scratch, from their delicious pastry to the rich demi glace in the beef and game pies.

Their pies are sold in Selfridges in London, at Stroud, Cheltenham and Cirencester farmers’ markets and food fairs all over the country. They also supply a number of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire delicatessens, pubs, cafes and farm shops.