A JOHNSTONE butcher shop has joined the upper crust after being named as a finalist in the 20th World Championship Scotch Pie Awards.

John Marshall & Sons, based in the town’s High Street, impressed judges in the qualifying rounds, fending off competition from nearly 100 rival butchers.

It is a major feather in the cap for the family-run business, which has been in operation for more than a century, with the winner to be announced at an awards ceremony later this month.

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And, speaking to The Gazette ahead of the final, owner Bryan Marshall revealed the secret to Scotch pie heaven can be found in a baker’s oven.

He said: “We take great care with all of our products and take quality control very seriously.

“Special praise has to go to John Kerr, who is the master of the pies here.

The Gazette:

Bryan Marshall and his team are on the hunt for success 

“Most butchers use an oven specifically designed for them but we have always used four-storey baker’s ovens, as we believe that is the secret to a good pie.”

John Marshall & Sons is currently being run by the third generation of the same family.

And Bryan believes it is a passion for local produce that sets it apart from the competition.

He said: “We don’t scrimp on anything in our produce and we ensure it all comes from local sources.

“Everything we use is Scottish. We support local through and through.

“I run a farm myself and, from cattle to lamb, everything is Scottish born and bred.”

To reach the final, the Johnstone team had to send pies to a panel of more than 50 professional judges, who assessed each on its appearance, quality, consistency and taste.

The Gazette:

The popular butcher shop is always busy 

And it would be a dream come true for Bryan and his staff if John Marshall & Sons is named World Scotch Pie champion when the judging panel ‘meats’ again at the Westerwood Hotel, in Cumbernauld, on Tuesday, January 15.

“We are absolutely delighted to be in the final,” said Bryan.

“It’s a great accolade and testament to the hard work everyone puts in here.”

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Unfortunately, some of the staff will have to stay behind to keep the shop open while the awards ceremony takes place – but Bryan insists they will be there in spirit.

The Gazette:

Master pie maker John Kerr (left) and David Marshall 

He added: “I wish the whole team could make it along to the final as they certainly deserve all the praise they are getting.”