Where’s Ben Bayly gone and what’s with that pie?

There’s been a bit of talk in the media about celebrity chef Ben Bayly, former executive chef of The Grove restaurant, moving on to unknown opportunities.

Well we can now tell you that we’ve tracked him down and found him about to eat a pie!

We’re at his new restaurant, The Grounds, in Henderson, Auckland, and considering he’s a family man with young children, this place couldn’t be a better fit. There’s a toy shop, adventure park playground and even an adjoining film studio and theatre where a new children’s series called Custard’s World will begin filming 30 episodes shortly.

There’s a change of pace; no Ben hasn’t really slowed down, but at least there is more time for family now and they can at least come and have a bit of fun at their parent’s new restaurant - Ben’s wife looks after the books and is very much a part of the day-to-day running of the business.

And then there’s him eating a pie! What’s that all about?

Well pies for Ben hold a special place in his heart. In his informative years abroad as a chef, Ben never quite found anything to compare with a Kiwi pie. So, on the trips home he would fantasise about the taste of that first pie after not long leaving the airport. A quick stop at the nearest service station, grabbing a steak and cheese pie from the pie warmer, one bite, and Ben felt like he was home.

Such love for this iconic food doesn’t go unnoticed by those that it matters to and this year Ben got the call, the “dream job”, and has been chosen as the 2018 NZ Bakels Supreme Pie Awards celebrity chef judge.

All the action takes place on July 26 when 5000+ pie entries line up for judging in Auckland where Ben will be eagerly awaiting them, mouth-watering and expectations high.

He’s looking for an honest pie; one made of the goodness that slow cooking and no additives, brings. He doesn’t favour colouring in the pastry either, and don’t even mention MSG or he’ll come down on you like a ton of bricks!

But on July 31st he’ll stand up at the NZ Bakels Supreme Pie Awards satisfied that the best pie, and pie maker, in the land has been chosen. He’ll shake their hand, job well done; wide grin for the cameras and know that once again he’s been part of culinary history in New Zealand.

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