The WeeCOOK Kitchen’s “Pies Without Prejudice”Neil Hardie
Based in the village of Barry, near the small town of Carnoustie, lies one of the hardest-working kitchens in Angus. And this busy wee kitchen is also home to some of the best pies in the area, with customers demanding monthly trips to as far north as Aberdeen and as far south as Glasgow.
Having experienced huge success with The WeeCOOK Kitchen during the pandemic as a result of Haley’s resilience and attitude to changing her business model to adapt to the situation, the venue has become one of the most well-known for top quality artisan pies.
Operating her own pie store from the venue in Barry having been forced to close her new pie shop in the Wellgate Centre in Dundee due to Covid-19, Hayley was inspired to make her own “proper” pies after having a bad experience with one at a football match.
She said: “The pies are really loaded and have more meat than what you’d get in a pie at the football. We wanted to make something that was a meal in itself.
There were two reasons I started making pies. One was because I wanted to use the leftovers we had to create something really high quality, and the second was when I went to the football and had a curry pie there was only two bits of chicken in it and it was rubbish. I knew I could make them better and it has just grown and grown since we launched.
“There’s mince and tatties, beef bourguignon style, chicken and bacon and others that are a little more adventurous. We wanted to provide proper gourmet pies to customers. Our more artisan pies would be the hoisin one and chicken and chorizo which we launch soon.
“It’s pies without prejudice. People pay £3.50 for one of these pies and they are great quality. We use quality meat from the local butchers, veg from a local veg mongers, and they are all seasoned well and have delicious sauces.”
But Hayley’s pies aren’t just any old pies, many of them are award-winning, with numerous flavours bagging Great Taste titles and one taking home the bronze medal at the World Scotch Pie Awards.
“We’ve launched some Six Nations pies and have entered them into awards before. We have won awards already for our black pudding, stilton and onion marmalade pie in 2017, we got a bronze in the World Scotch Pie awards for our vegan curry one, and have Great Taste awards for the chicken and bacon pie. We’ve won quite a lot of awards for them actually.
“We launched a Six Nations selection box recently and it has gone down a storm. We’re also looking to do something different for Mother’s Day. We’re toying with a box called ‘Mother’s Ruin’ and it will feature the 12 mini pies of lockdown. It will be a gift box and we’ll pair it with gins or something like that if we can. It will be something unusual for people to gift instead of cake or afternoon tea.”
But what is it that makes a good pie and one worth enjoying this British Pie Week?
“It has got to be tasty, be well baked and look and taste as good in equal parts. The care and attention to detail is a big part of it and how it has been glazed, baked, and how it is stored or displayed is so important. You’ve got to show them real TLC. We really look after the pies,” said Hayley.
“People will have them and come back, we have built such a following around the pies, it is almost like a cult of pie lovers. They just love the quality pies we have been making.”
Travelling up and down the country, The WeeCOOK Kitchen pies are in high demand, with Hayley and her team delivering locally daily, to Dundee once a week, and to areas including Aberdeen and Glasgow once a month to keep their customers happy and fed.
That’s not forgetting her four-legged customers who also love their pie fix.
She added: “The pies are on the menu when the restaurant is open, and we have our pie takeaway running just now. You can buy them as a deli item from our pie shop at The WeeCOOK Kitchen. A lot of people will pre-order them and we run it almost like a drive-through. We offer free delivery daily to Carnoustie, Broughty Ferry and other areas.
“For Dundee we deliver one a week with a scheduled drop, once a month to Aberdeen, Laurencekirk and Montrose, once a month to Forfar and Glasgow once a month. These are all places we’d like to be at markets so this is our way around it. People also want them, so we’re just trying to deliver them to where our customers are.
“We did try send them by post but because they are so heavy, they are expensive to post. I’d love to get them down to England and Wales, but they are very heavy. Our mini ones have gone out via the Taste of Angus box, but that’s all we’re doing just now.
“We’ve also got pies for dogs called poochie pies which have just as good quality ingredients in them. We trim our chicken breasts and the bits we don’t use go into the poochie pies. There’s dogs getting the same quality pies as their humans, but a baby version.”