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Rutland gluten-free caterer Kavanagh’s, in Oakham, wins honour at British Pie Awards in Melton Mowbray





A family business which specialises in gluten-free treats has joined the upper crust of caterers after triumphing at the British Pie Awards on Friday.

Kavanagh’s, based in Oakham, were stunned to earn an invite to Friday morning’s awards ceremony, in Melton Mowbray, after being shortlisted among the top three in the Free From class.

The Rutland caterers had begun making pies just three weeks before entering and could not believe their p-eyes when judges plumped for their gluten-free ‘Italian Job’ Melanzane pie as the award-winner.

Martyn Baynes and Clare Kavanagh were stunned to win
Martyn Baynes and Clare Kavanagh were stunned to win

“I could barely sleep after being invited to the awards dinner, so to win it is massive,” said Clare Kavanage.

“We were just so thrilled to be shortlisted in the first place, it’s just brilliant.”

Clare, who runs the business with her partner Martyn Baynes, said the prize-winning dish, made with their gluten-free, handmade puff pastry, was a take on her favourite meal - melanzane (aubergine) parmigiana.

Clare plans to keep the trophy in her kitchen
Clare plans to keep the trophy in her kitchen

The filling includes aubergine, layered with parmesan and mozzarella cheese and topped off with Italian sauce.

For Clare, it is part of a long-running mission to make gluten-free food as tasty as everything else on the shelves.

Yet, the big moment almost never happened.

Judging at this year's British Pie Awards took place on Wednesday at St Mary's Church
Judging at this year's British Pie Awards took place on Wednesday at St Mary's Church

“On the morning of the delivery to the awards one of the staff dropped the entire collection of pies,” Clare added.

“I think we all wanted to cry! But thankfully, we had just enough time to bake a fresh batch and have them cool just in time for delivery.”

Kavanagh’s, which has traded for more than 20 years, decided to close their tearoom in Oakham during the pandemic, and continued as a caterer.

A record panel of 147 judges mulled over the award categories
A record panel of 147 judges mulled over the award categories

Their impressive list of clients now boasts royalty, private estates, councils and hotels.

A coeliac diagnosis in 2003 was a big motivation for Clare and became the spark for her gluten-free kitchen – that and her son’s diagnosis with the same condition at the age of nine.

“It was terrible back then,” she said.

“You could only get one gluten-free kind of bread and it was like a brick. I stopped baking for about a year, but then I thought ‘this is ridiculous, I have to try and make it work’.

“It stretches you and it’s a challenge, but it’s lovely to get on board and make it work.

“It’s wonderful to give people things they have missed because they are coeliacs.”

She added: “People think ‘it’s gluten-free, it’s not going to be nice’, but I don’t put anything out in the market you wouldn’t enjoy as a non-gluten-free person.”

A record 147 judges were this year picked for the pie-oneering awards which featured more than 1,000 entries in 24 different classes.

The panel included representatives from Harrods and Selfridges, and the chef of King Charles.

This year’s Supreme Champion ‘Pie of Pies’ went to the Minted Wensleydale Lamb and Potato entry by Middleton-In-Teesdale Fish & Chip Shop, in Barnard Castle, County Durham.



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