Published: 12:38, 03 September 2021
| Updated: 18:55, 03 September 2021
The much-loved World Custard Pie Championship returns this weekend after last year’s flan-flinging fun was put on hold because of the pandemic.
The unique and messy event, which has been held for more than 50 years, will take place in the grounds of Coxheath Village Hall on Saturday.
But what does it take to prepare this unforgettable day?
Main organiser Geoff Cooke gave us a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes.
Prepping for the championship - which involves teams hurling plates of the putty-like mix at each other - has been difficult with dates moved three times due to Covid restrictions, Mr Cooke said.
Luckily, finding contestants was not a problem as many who had enrolled for the cancelled 2020 games were just as eager to get their hands on a plate of goo.
He said: “The last six-to-eight weeks were the ones we felt most pressured.
“Fortunately, we had already arranged things with the flour supplier quite early on in January this year. Same for getting a judging panel and finding stalls. It is all good to go!”
The star of the show is the mysterious custard mix - but its ingredients will remain a closely-guarded secret.
“People are indeed curious, and that’s why it’s a secret! All I can say is that there’s flour and water in it,” he said.
Organisers make up around 1,500 pies each tournament.
The last championship used exactly 1,472 pies. About 30 flour bags, each weighing 20kg, are added to the mix.
“The custard then stays in the mixer for about two hours,” revealed Mr Cooke.
Once the fun is over, it’s time to clean up the pie plates and custard - though the most difficult part of the job is people trying to scrape the substance off themselves.
“A cold shower is best. If you use a hot shower the stuff sets up with you,” is his tip.
“People do find themselves – and I find it myself, even though I’m not that covered in custard – picking bits of the mix off themselves days after the championship finished.”
Following the retirement of a few original members - such as former Mayor of Maidstone Mike Fitzgerald - Mr Cooke and his new organising team cannot wait to make their debut.
He said: “We’re so tightly wired now that we kind of wish it was Saturday already.
“I think it’s going to be a great relief to do it, to be honest. And it will be great to keep it alive as well, to keep it going.
“We’re really pleased to be doing it.”
This year’s edition will be followed by the 2022 championship, scheduled to take place on June 18.
Mr Cooke added: “We’ll have a little break, pat ourselves on the back, and try signing up teams this upcoming Saturday already for the following year.
“It will be nice to get this one under our belt and great to get to do next year’s as well.”
The World Custard Pie Championship is this Saturday, September 4, at Coxheath Village Hall.
Gates open at noon and the contest is expected to start at 2.30pm.