In Australia, there’s an iconic food that’s beloved throughout the country — the meat pie. These small, savory pies are sold everywhere from gas stations to sports stadiums and dedicated pie shops. The numbers are undeniable — Australians eat 270 million meat pies nationwide each year.
Yet in America, the Australian meat pie is mostly unknown. One man is trying to change that dynamic — Michael Peacock, CEO, and founder of G’Day Gourmet. Growing up in Australia and New Zealand, Peacock consumed meat pies on a regular basis. So when he immigrated to the United States in the 1980s, he was startled to find them practically nonexistent in America. After a career in several other fields, he eventually opened G’Day Gourmet (initially a food truck) in Philadelphia with the hopes of bringing this distinct Australian food culture to America.
His efforts are paying off. Not only has the food truck been highly successful, but G’Day Gourmet has also branched into catering and wholesale. Recently, Peacock has recruited Philadelphia Eagles Left Tackle and fellow Aussie, Jordan Mailata as their new brand ambassador. “With Jordan’s help, we are hoping to spread the word about our pies, even faster,” said Peacock.
At first, an Australian meat pie resembles a standard American chicken pot pie. However, there are a few key differences. Pot pies generally have only a top crust (usually a puff pasty) placed over a bowl or dish filled with cream-based gravy, chicken, and vegetables. It’s also a knife and fork food. In comparison, an Australian meat pie has both a top and bottom crust and a wider range of fillings, including ground beef, bacon, cheddar cheese, chunks of steak, lamb, venison, or chicken with veggies. While it’s sometimes eaten with a knife and fork, Australian meat pies are generally handheld food (often served in a paper bag with sauce). As a complete meal, meat pies can be served with fries, salad or mashed potatoes, mushy peas, and gravy (known as “The Stack”).
Because it’s considered fast food, pie shops are everywhere in Australia. The competition is fierce with many shops offering different styles ranging from gourmet to breakfast pies. Meat pies are also a popular hangover food, with many shops offering unique specialties. “An Aussie pie shop in Adelaide, Australia invented something called the “Pie Floater” and swear it’s the greatest hangover cure after a night of heavy drinking,” said Peacock. “They take a shallow bowl, add about an inch of split pea soup, place a mince (ground beef) pie (upside down) in the pea soup then ladle more pea soup over the top.”
At G’Day Gourmet, Peacock is dedicated to making the best quality pies possible. At the forefront is the pie crust, a point of pride for Peacock. G’Day Gourmet pie crusts are made with only fresh ingredients, no added preservatives, and an all-butter-based dough. “Our laminated, all-butter dough is a shortcrust pastry with puff pastry characteristics,” said Peacock. “There is a secret ingredient in our dough which helps make it extra flaky while adding a unique flavor to our pies. Our dough recipe is treated as a trade secret and very few people have access to it.”
The same care is also given to the pie fillings. G’Day Gourmet only uses organic meats, fresh produce, and local beer and wine producers. From the tender chunks of meat in the Lamb & Rosemary, perfectly accented with the fragrance of herbs, to the savory, slightly smoky mix of minced beef and cheese in the Beef, Bacon, and Cheddar, everything at G’Day Gourmet is high quality. A great part about G’Day Gourmet is that the vegetables are just as dynamic as the meat options. Peacock’s personal favorite is actually the Spinach & Feta pie, packed with fresh spinach and a creamy mix of three types of cheese.
There’s a reason Peacock is so passionate about high quality. Although other Australian pie shops exist in America, it’s not often a great representation. “There are some larger companies who bring their “not so Aussie” pies to the retail space but have fallen short on bringing an authentic experience to their customers,” said Peacock. “The pies are sub-par. This teaches Americans the wrong things about our beloved pies and hurts the industry in general.”
Because Australian meat pies are foreign in America, success requires a combination of education, adaptation, passion, and time for this custom to take hold. Peacock has worked hard to craft his pies to fit the American market and palate. “Getting people to try our gourmet food is the hard part; once they have tried them, they love them and come back for more, frequently,” said Peacock. “We want our customers to have the best Australian gourmet food experience they can have, in America and beyond.
To sample these Australian meat pies for yourself, order directly from G’Day Gourmet. Their pies are available to be shipped to most U.S. states and come in a variety of flavors such as the classic Beef and Stout or creamy Chicken and Leek. Simply choose how many pies you want (packs of six, eight, or twelve) and the flavors. A great deal to try for a first-timer is the G’Day Gourmet Sampler Pack, which includes your choice of five pies and two sausage rolls. All pies come with heating instructions.
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