Pies are a favourite food during winter and chef James Wallis and Steve Costi seafoods is now delivering delicious fish pie kits across Sydney. These affordable pie kits have four pies and a generous amount of sides for just $80. The pies are packed with top quality seafood and are very easy to prepare!
Chef James Wallis explains the fish pie kit, "We compete with the midweek takeaway, as opposed to restaurant meal packs. We have designed them to be super easy, taking no longer than 30 minutes to cook (all the hard works is done for you). We can offer value because we are in food production rather that a restaurant setting."
James has been a chef for 16 years and is originally from the UK. His last restaurant job was at love.fish in Barangaroo that opened his eyes up to the world of Australian seafood. James says, "The produce is completely different back home." He learned about our Sydney rock and pacific oysters and the effect each estuary has on the flavour and profile. He also prepared sea urchins and learned each step of the journey that seafood takes to reach our plate. This led him to working with Steve Costi of Steve Costi Seafoods and Martins United Seafood, the wholesale arm that serves Sydney’s top restaurants.
So why a pie? "Pies are all the rage this lockdown. Are you doing lockdown properly if you’re not eating pie?" says James. The pastry for his fish pie comes from Pasteles Bakehouse, 100 metres from their facility. "We aim to change the filling weekly with the fish that’s best at the time, this week we had MSC certified NZ Hake, Mt. Cook Salmon, Wild Caught NZ Monkfish & Palidus octopus. The sauce will stay the same, creamy béchamel sauce, dill, parsley, and lemon,"explains James.
The pies are delivered unbaked and are designed to be baked at home. I received my kit on Friday and used a discount code for free delivery (James is also happy for people to DM him on Instagram to get a free delivery code). The pies come in two cardboard boxes while the sides come in square reusable plastic containers. There are four sides: steamed buttered parsley potatoes, a roasted beetroot and dill salad, crushed peas and steamed broccoli with Pepe Saya butter and these can all be cooked in the microwave or stovetop. There are also printed out instructions for cooking. "The focus has been to create something that’s delicious, but also accessible, affordable and convenient. There are some phenomenal meal packs available from restaurants out there and we wanted to do something a little different – create experiences for at home dining, that offered fuss free food that can be enjoyed a with friends (when we are out of lockdown), but even also on weeknights," says James.
The pies are a welcome weekend lunch repast. I love the range of fish and the chunky textures in the pie and the creamy bechamel and hint of lemon. The pastry is interesting, not as buttery as I expected but still good. The peas are a favourite side dish too. Future meals may include classic fish and chips meal packs with crispy batter or salmon wellington and as they grow the business delivery will expand from just Fridays to all days of the week.
James counts himself lucky during this time, "Working in food production my work has not been affected. I have a lot of support at home from my partner Ben and three cats. Whilst it’s hard not being able to see friends & being on the other side of the world from my family, I do feel privileged to be in Australia during this time. Whilst this is devastating for hospitality and its workers, it’s just as devastating for suppliers and our food producers who have been hit with, drought, fire, flooding, plague and pandemic! Support local producers where you can!"
James also has Green Anchor, a range of preserves and relishes made with sustainability in mind. "I’ve always loved thrifty cooking so and believe we can have a zero waste approach that benefits everyone, turning the problem into the solution (even better if that problem tastes delicious). Each product is made from food that would normally be wasted, marmalade from orange peel, a biproduct of the juicing industry, tomato relish from ugly or misshapen tomatoes, pickles made from broccoli stalks for example. Every product sold would plant a tree (I looked at things holistically, and worked out if we have good soil health we can stop climate change, save the barrier reef, prevent hunger – in short with good soil we can save the world)," says James.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you tend to eat more pies in winter? What is in your favourite seafood pie?
This meal was independently paid for.
James Wallis Steve Costi Seafood Kits