When publican Farika Holden decided at the start of this year that she wanted to introduce a food offer at her venue The Cock Tavern in London’s Oval, little did she know that it would instead become a standalone business that would keep her busy during the pandemic.
Earlier this month Holden launched her pie delivery business Grateful Pies having been forced to close her pub in March because of the Coronavirus crisis.
Speaking in The Restaurant podcast, Holden describes how her idea of serving pies that she had made for friends every winter and festive season for more than twenty years based on a family recipe – transformed into a delivery business due to the pandemic.
“The idea was to sell the pies in the pub originally, I got the equipment, but it never happened,” she says. “Since lockdown happened the pub has disintegrated into nothing, it hasn’t been right to open.”
Instead, Holden worked on developing a vegan pie, inspired by the classic French-Canadian Tourtière, made with green lentils, Bramley apple, onion, celery, mushroom, potato and aromatic spices.
They are now available in select London shops and also for nationwide delivery, something which Holden says was the direct result of the lockdown.
“Building a brand is not easy, it’s costing a lot of money at this point, but it has been good for my mental health and has kept me busy,” she says.
Priced at £14.95 and designed to serve six people, the pies are one of very few sharing pies on the market, she says.
“When I decided to make it into a business, I thought about why I wanted to do it. It is an amalgamation of everything I’ve been doing for years - bringing people together and sharing.”