A County Durham pie shop has scooped up five awards at the renowned 2021 British Pie Awards.

Pitman Pies, which is based in Tanfield, is already loved by locals- but now it's been recognised nationally at the British Pie Awards which was held at the world-famous Melton Mowbray.

The local business sent off six of its tastiest pies but knew it was no mean feat to bag an award with more than 880 entrants.

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But owner, Michael Rowlands, said he was "over the moon" when he found out Pitman Pies came away with five out of six pies getting awarded two silvers and three bronzes.

Among the winning pies were the Chicken and Chorizo pie, the Chicken, Leek, and Bacon pie, the Spicy Popper pie, the Pork, Apple and Stuffing pie, and the Braising Steak pie- which is a local favourite.

Michael, 51, said: "I couldn't believe it because there are over 880 entrants and we're up against some really good pies but I was just over the moon.

Pitman Pies came away with five out of six pies getting awarded two silvers and three bronzes at the 2021 British Pie Awards
Pitman Pies came away with five out of six pies getting awarded two silvers and three bronzes at the 2021 British Pie Awards

"I just love what I do, it's my baby, it's my life. I wake up at 3 in the morning full of beans and work until 11 at night because I just love it."

The self-confessed pie-lover started the business in 2019 from his garage in Stanley after dreaming about it for years.

He said: "I started off as wagon driver, I did it for years but I always wanted to do baking because I've been cooking all my life.

"My sons suggested I just do it properly but I had a good job and decent pay.

"But they wanted me to work seven days a week and I wouldn't so I decided it was the best time to do it, I just needed that push.

"I basically locked myself in the garage and worked on fillings and pastry. It took me years to just get the pastry right. I tried different flours and different butters until I found the right combination.

"Everything that goes out has to be right, I think I'm a bit OCD with it but every pie has got to be right."

Michael said bringing top-quality pies to people is his ultimate "passion" and said he loves what he does.

He said: "I'm not doing it for the money, I get a kick from people telling us how nice our pies are.

"Going to the shop and seeing people waiting for their pies, that's what gets me out of bed in the morning. It's my passion.

"We have such amazing customers and they love what we do so I'm just over the moon."

Michael thanked Pat, Flash and Carl for all their help as well as all of his customers.

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