Game on in British Pie Week for Welwyn Hatfield pub

MONDAY sees the start of British Pie Week; a great excuse, if one were needed, to tuck into the favourite pastry dish.

Organised by pastry manufacturer Jus-Rol, the annual event celebrates, as the company’s website has it, “one of civilisation’s greatest culinary inventions, born through a combination of genius and passion”.

But as varied and delicious as they may be, pie-making is nevertheless a serious business.

That’s why Ben Francis, head chef at the Chequers Inn in Woolmer Green, has once again entered into the Face of British Pie Week competition – with every intention of winning it.

Having finished third in the national competition last year with his pheasant and smoked bacon recipe, Ben is hoping his Local Game Pie finally secures him the accolade in 2010.

But, Ben admitted, it won’t be easy.

“That’s a huge recipe,” he said.

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“It’s muntjac deer, partridge, pigeon, rabbit and duck. It takes ages to make, that one.

“You have to cook the meats at different stages to get them just right. If you’re a game lover, it’s right up your street. “I’m not sure how we’re going to do, but I’m hopeful. We came third last year, and we’re hoping for better this year.”

While British Pie Week only comes once a year, pie-making is an everyday event at the Chequers Inn.

The pub holds two “pie days” a week – on Wednesdays and Saturdays – simply to cope with the demand for 28-year-old Ben’s pastry creations.

“We’re really well known for it,” he said. “We make all the fillings and pastry ourselves and it’s all for �5.50.

“We have a selection of around seven to eight different pies every week, so people can come here and try something different each time.”

Call The Chequers Inn on 01438 813216 for more information.

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