You’ll often catch Simon uttering “better never stops” as he scurries around the business. It’s just one of his favourite catchphrases! We’re obsessed with perfecting our pies and pasties, not just for the awards but for our customers too. We want them to be consistently delicious (something that becomes harder, the more pies we make!) so we carry out thorough testing. Testing means lots of pie-eating goes on at Chunk – poor old us 😜
You may have spied snaps on social media of our tastings sessions at Chunk HQ. To us, it’s obvious what goes on at a tastings session but we’ve been asked before what, exactly, it entails. So here’s a quick rundown!
On the tastings panel
Lots of people involved in tastings but its not the same crew week in week out. Some of the regulars include Directors Simon and Suzi, Chef Marc, the Marketing team, some of the kitchen hunks. The office staff also get to gobble the leftovers and pass on any comments they may have.
On the tastings table
Every week in our main office at Chunk HQ the tastings sessions are held. The sampling spread is different every time. If the quality of any product is flagged by staff or customers during the week it is brought in and scrutinised. We also like to rotate the selection so we can check the quality of the complete product range (although there are favourites that do seem to appear rather more than some of the others!)
There are sometimes factors that impact the product which mean we have to alter the recipe or how we cook our pies, pasties and sausie rolls. The firmness of veg is affected by seasonality and therefore we need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Sometimes our suppliers change and the ingredients can have a slightly different texture or taste, which too can prompt us to tweak how we do things.
Once a month we have a super exciting tasting meeting when Marc brings us some samples of new recipes that he’s been trying out. These are then tweaked over the next few weeks, altering the levels of seasoning and adjusting the ingredients until they’re perfect and ready for launching on the website!
Occasionally, we also nab a few competitor pies and pasties to sample what they have to offer and pit them against ours – no prizes for guessing who usually comes out on top 😁
Once everyone is gathered and sitting (semi)comfortably, the tray is opened and the aroma of hot pies, pasties and sausage rolls wafts around the room! Each bake is weighed carefully then sliced in half to check the ratios of ingredients, pastry thickness and fill proportions.
With the best Steak Pasty, for example, the swede, potato and meat ratio is of the upmost importance – roughly one third of each should be clearly visible when the pasty is cut (see below image for a perfect specimen).
Simon usually plays ‘Mummy’ and chops up further into bitesize morsels which are passed around. Cue munching and satisfied ‘mmmm’s followed by appropriate comments. We are keen to taste that the bite of the pastry, the flavour of the fill, the seasoning, the gravy and meat proportions, to name a few things, are just as they should be for each product! And there you have it – the not so secret secret to awesome pies and pasties!
go on – take a Chunk!