Firstly, does anyone other than a Kiwi know what a “Tuck Shop” is?
I think people use the term in Britain and Australia but it’s pretty rare. In case anyone is wondering, a ‘Tuck Shop’ is the school canteen where we would buy our pies at lunch time.
Oh boy, those were the days! But, how did you get into making your own?
We found ourselves hung-over one day and struck with the impulse to eat our ultimate comfort food – meat pies. Sadly this craving coincided with the shocking realisation that we couldn’t get an authentic NZ pie anywhere in Shanghai – let alone China. Thankfully, my Mum taught me how to make them back in New Zealand so I made a batch of classic steak and mushroom pies to tide us over but the fix was temporary and the cravings were real.
So, what happened next?
We soon discovered we weren’t the only ones missing the comfort of a homely humble pie. Our friends – other expats in Shanghai – became unofficial pie taste testers. We worked to perfect the pie recipes that we had grown up with. The pies had to taste like the ones back home, this meant sourcing premium New Zealand beef and dairy for our pies.
Local vendors in Shanghai started to place orders. Initially I worked around the clock hand baking all the pies out of our not so industrial apartment kitchen with an oven that could only bake 4 pies at a time, but very quickly had to outsource a kitchen to keep up with the demand. With that, Tuck Shop Pies was born. The pies gave testament to the wholesome, labour of love food we grew up with back in NZ.
Where do you get your ingredients from?
We use all premium New Zealand beef and dairy. Our beef is from AFFCO, butter from Canary, cheese and milk from Anchor. Our vegetables are all fresh from the markets. Our pies are 100% handmade, including our curry paste.
Do you make any other products?
We also have another pie brand called The Pie Company which sells in around 300 retail outlets throughout China.
Wow, that’s impressive! What are your future plans?
Thinking of starting another New Zealand style product line soon.
Can you give us one tip for expats contemplating starting their own brand or business in Shanghai?
If you’re kiwi, I would say, leverage your “Kiwiness”. If you aren’t kiwi, then just networking. There is such a strong and helpful expat community in Shanghai (especially the Kiwi community) and everyone wants to support you if they can.
In 1 word, describe your Shanghai experience to date?
Lastly, where can we buy a Tuck Shop Pie hot, hot, hot?!
Pantry (Wulumuqi Lu), Camel Sports Bar (Yueyang Lu), Gilligans (Yongkang Lu), just to name a few! You can also buy them frozen from City Super, Ole and other supermarkets, or online at Kate & Kimi and Tuck Shop Pies.
Connect with Tuck Shop Pies via Instagram: @tuckshoppies