The pies have arrived – and they’re hot stuff!
Almondbury butcher Keith Dyson’s little shop in Northgate shifts about 800 pies a week – with traditional pork pies and a big array of specialist pies on offer, including ones laced with chilli.
Keith, who took over the shop two weeks before Christmas 26 years ago, didn’t even start making pies until about eight years ago. Now pies are his speciality.
He is joined in the business by his wife Janet, friend Jack Holroyd and “piemaker extraordinarie” Leanne Swiers.
Keith acquired the shop after working as an employee of Roy Short, another butcher who had his shop around the corner in Westgate. Keith was aged 35 at the time, married with three children and had very little money. But his hard work has paid off with the shop building up a loyal customer base.
“We didn’t start making pies until about eight years ago,” said Keith. “Leanne, who is the main creator of pies, is constantly trying out new recipes and combinations to see what customers think. Selling around 800 pies per week with no sales effort is testament to how much the customers appreciate them.”
Said Keith: “We do believe in high quality and value. We have entered competitions such as the Ripponden Pork Pie Appreciation Society over the years and not done too badly. We tend to get excellent marks for taste but not for a perfect shape as our pies all seem to have their individuality in that sense.”
The shop offers 21 different pork pie variations – from traditional plain pork pies to pork with chilli and pickle, pork and black pudding, pork and stilton, pork and apple stuffing, Cheese Fidget and more.
Keith said: “Recently, we have added three new pies which are chilli relish-based to meet what seems to be a demand for hot and spicy flavours. The first one is with red chillis, another with jalopenos and thirdly Scotch bonnet or birds eye chillis, whichever we can get hold of.
“Leanne is also trying out a chilli called ‘Carolina Reaper’ understood to be the hottest chilli in the world.
“We also make traditional pies such as meat and potato; steak, real ale and chutney; steak and kidney; chicken and vegetable and more.
“We freshly bake the multi-flavour pies on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The traditional pork ones are made every day.”
Keith said he lost 12lb in weight in the first two weeks of running the shop – thanks to the hard work involved and the stress of setting out on his own.
But he says he needn’t have worried – as he’s put it all back on now!