THE GOURMET PANTY – Irish Guinness Pie and all things possibly baked for comfort
Michelle was born in the second largest city in Ireland named Derry, which is situated in Northern Ireland. As a young girl she knew she wanted to work within the hospitality industry and formalised her education by studying Hospitality Management. Martin, on the other hand, was born in South Africa to Scottish parents and headed off to Scotland, to embrace his heritage and whilst he was there he completed his Hospitality Management in service training.
This is where the lad and lass met whilst both working in the Glasgow Thistle Hotel in Scotland. They have been inseparable ever since. They move on to work in Aberdeen and the village of Bray in England before they set their sights on South Africa. They worked for a further 10 years in various hotels in Cape Town before deciding that it was time to break free from the long hours that were tearing their new family apart.
Martin soon realised that he could follow his passion in cooking and that there was opportunity to bake and distribute to the hospitality & catering industry but to also fill the gap in manufacturing authentic hand-made pies with quality ingredients and from recipes past down from their grandparents.
When one thinks of Ireland – one thinks Steak and Guinness Pie. Pies are an all-time favourite in Scotland and Ireland and considered a staple to most. The warmth and heartiness of a pie filled with meats, pork or stew is very much what they were reared on. Mince pies, cottage pies, apple pies are all part of their heritage so it was inevitable that this would be a principle start of the bakery goods to be sold.
Historians state that colonists from Irish and Scottish heritage turned to baking pies for travel. It was invented to preserve local foods that filled them. Soon varieties of pies travelled to the furthest corners of the world as settlers reached the shores of Africa and America. There came to be a proliferation of new sweet pies.
The Gourmet Pantry soon widened its range to supply old world baked breads, breakfast croissants, quiches, frittatas, cakes, muffins and various other confectionaries. To keep up with the demand Michelle and Martin have employed 28 local staff to assist them in this bakery. They did not manage to completely free themselves from the 24/7 required in the hospitality industry, but they do state that they have more of a balanced life. Even though they take turns to do very early mornings at the bakery to be ready for the 6am delivery run, they still manage to have quality time with their children at night.
Where there is a whisk, there is a way.