By Kate Watson
You’ve heard of finger food, but a new Dartmouth business called Humble Pie Kitchen is offering something that’s really more of a handful.
Co-owned by Shauna MacLean and the husband-and-wife team of Mike and Denise Noakes, Humble Pie Kitchen has cooked up a hand-held mini-meal that comes in a variety of savoury fillings wrapped in a flaky, butter pastry. It’s a food item that’s very popular in Australia and New Zealand.
The trio has recently begun selling their pies at the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market on Sundays from 11 to 3.
MacLean has kindly taken a few moments away from the kitchen to fill Hello Dartmouth readers in on what went into bringing these tasty snacks to market.
Why did you choose Alderney Farmers’ market as your launching place?
Denise and I are originally from Dartmouth and feel it is a great place to do business.
How did the three of you meet?
SM: Denise and I became friends 20 years ago while living in the south end of Halifax and working in the restaurant biz. Mike and Denise met in 1996 while she was backpacking in New Zealand. They have been married for 16 years now.
Where did the name come from?
SM: The name Humble Pie Kitchen organically evolved from brainstorming sessions, and tied so nicely into pie being a humble food with its roots in many cultures.
Where did the recipe come from?
SM: Our fillings are inspired by family recipes handed down from Mike’s mother Fay. We strive to create authentic flavours of pies that Mike missed from living down under. The recipe for our butter-flake puff pastry was a labour of love; created from a ton of research and a lot of trial and error to find the best pairing to our rich fillings.
What’s special about a Humble Pie?
SM: Humble Pies are made from quality local ingredients, grass fed beef and wrapped in our delicious flaky pastry. It’s an amazing combo of rich flavours that you cannot find anywhere else.
Tell us a little about what goes into making the product.
SM: Our products are handmade in small batches. Fillings are created over two days to allow flavours to intensify and our pastry is made with 100% real butter. There is a lot of love and effort in our pies.
What role did the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CEED) play in getting Humble Pie to market?
SM: I approached CEED with a proposal for Humble Pies and they loved the idea. CEED has provided mentorship and support through all stages of business planning and development and most of all, the staff LOVE our pies!
What varieties do you make?
SM: Steak & Cheese, Mince & Cheese, Beef & Bacon Stroganoff, Donair, and Chicken Cranberry Camembert. We all have our own favourite, but the top seller is Steak & Cheese.
How do tastes differ in New Zealand and North America?
SM: I wouldn’t say that tastes differ so much as people’s pallets and ideas differ. In New Zealand, pies are found in every dairy, bakery, and gas station. It’s a staple! They are eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and always eaten with their hands. That’s the hardest thing for people to wrap their heads around here. When we talk about pies here, people automatically think of pot pies or tortierres that they take home to eat, but that is not what we strive to create. We are making hot, ready to eat pies that will fill your belly until your next meal.
Why should everyone try your pie?
SM: Pies are a culinary cornerstone in many countries around the world and the unofficial national dish of New Zealand. It’s a cultural experience!