Award-winning Scottish baker competes for supermarket spot on Channel 4 Aldi’s Next Big Thing

Award-winning pie maker Hayley Wilkes, from Barry Downs, Angus will appear on Channel 4’s ‘Aldi’s Next Big Thing’ on Tuesday 9 April at 8pm.

Published 2nd Apr 2024
Updated 2 nd Apr 2024

The entrepreneur and founder of WeeCOOK Kitchen - known for their pies - was picked from hundreds of applicants competing for a life changing contract to stock Aldi stores nationwide.  

Viewers will see Hayley present her multi-award winning, hand-filled, Fishwife Pie to the judges. The pie recently won best pie in the Fish Pie category at this year’s British Pie Awards.

A change from the traditional fish pie, the WeeCOOK Kitchen Fishwife Pie is packed with Scottish haddock, smoked haddock, salmon and local Arbroath Smokies, bound together in a family recipe of fish stock and parsley sauce.

Hosted by Anita Rani, of Countryfile and BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Chris Bavin, of BBC’s The One Show and Eat Well for Less, the six-part series sees suppliers compete in a range of categories including dinners and baked goods, as well as exciting new category additions: party, world, and confectionery.

Scottish baker WeeCOOK pie Aldi

Products are presented to Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK, who deliberates on factors such as price, packaging, shopper demand, and the ability to scale up, before shortlisting contestants down to just two. 

The finalists are then given four weeks to address any feedback, with a follow-up home visit from Anita or Chris who will report back their findings to Julie.

The three then taste test the improved products, before Julie decides the winner which will appear as a Specialbuy in over 1,000 stores. 

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK, said: “We eat with our eyes, especially in bakery. If it doesn’t look fresh and appealing it won’t sell.

"Aldi customers love to try something a little bit different, whether that be dessert flavoured doughnuts or French style treats. We’re looking for innovation, and products that our shoppers are going to love."

Having established WeeCOOK Kitchen in 2011, Hayley took out a catering lease at Broughty Golf Club and launched the WeeCOOK Restaurant in 2017.

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It was there that the chef decided to branch out into pies, to minimise leftovers and give pie-loving golfers something to enjoy.

Hayley said of her Fishwife Pie: “In Scotland there’s a massive pie scene. Meat pies are traditionally very popular here, but our pies are different. Each is hand filled and hand finished.

“The Fishwife Pie, as a girl growing up in the 90s, is my homage to girl power. It’s not like a normal fisherman’s pie. This is like the sassy, Scottish little sister of the fisherman’s pie – the next gen as it were.“

Scottish baker WeeCOOK pie Aldi

The multi-category competition is part of Aldi’s ongoing commitment to support British suppliers. Last year, Aldi spent an additional £1.3 billion with British suppliers and growers, and they provide more than three quarters of all items sold in its stores.

The supermarket has also introduced a ‘Best of British’ section to its website, which includes a wide selection of groceries from meat to dairy products and everyday essentials, in a bid to help shoppers support British businesses.

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To find out if Hayley’s Fishwife Pie has made it onto Aldi’s shelves, watch Aldi’s Next Big Thing on Channel 4 on 9 April, 8pm. The series will air every Tuesday at 8pm until 7 May.

The WEECOOK Kitchen, Carnoustie, UK
The WEECOOK Kitchen, Carnoustie, UK, DD7 7SA
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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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