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Veganiser's pastry activism leads to plant-based winner at pie awards

PUBLISHED: 14:28 24 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:45 25 June 2019

'Veganiser' Lisa Buck with her pies

'Veganiser' Lisa Buck with her pies

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A vegan pie has won a top award after a Norfolk woman's campaign to allow all-veg dishes to go shoulder to shoulder with meatier offerings.

Lisa Buck at the 2019 British Pie AwardsLisa Buck at the 2019 British Pie Awards

Lisa Buck from Rushall, near Diss, said the room went silent in 2017, when she entered her Corn Niche Pastie into the traditional pastry class rather than the existing vegetarian class at the British Pie Awards.

Two years later, a vegan entry has seen off mainstream competiton to scoop the Supreme Champion prize at the 2019 British Pie Awards in Melton Mowbray.

Jon Thorner's curried sweet potato and butternut squash pie took home the top prize, with judges describing it as "well-balanced" and "outstanding".

Miss Buck said: "I was overwhelmed, I dreamed that it would happen and I knew how good vegan food was but I was just overwhelmed by the whole competition."

Miss Buck, who describes herself as a "friendly activist", became a vegan seven years ago.

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She produces a Facebook Live stream every Thursday evening called Cooking with the Vegan Owl, where she takes on the role of 'the veganiser'.

She turns traditional meals vegan, so far creating the So-Sage Roll, Beat Wellington and Shepherdless Pie.

Despite the jokes of the judging team her pie won a bronze award in the pastry class on its first appearance, and every year since Miss Buck has been lobbying pie awards bosses to create a specialist vegan category.

The pastry fanatic almost gave up on her dream before the awards' vegetarian chairman eventually crumbled, allowing her to present the award in the inaugral vegan class. Miss Buck doesn't plan to stop at pies and says she is now targetting the creation of a vegan sausage roll award.

The vegan class received the second highest number of entries, with the top three pies put forward to contest the Supreme Champion gong for best overall pie.

Miss Buck was sitting next to her judge from 2017 when the award was announced.

She burst into tears upon the announcement, repeating his words of "not the sort of place you'd expect to find a vegan", adding: "It is now." Miss Buck will star in the Life of Pies on BBC1 tonight at 7:30pm.

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