Great North Pie Company puts Bramhall on the food map
PUBLISHED: 12:45 21 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:20 20 February 2013
With fans including Simon Rimmer and Nigel Haworth and being named Britain's best, these pies from Bramhall really are upper crust WORDS BY EMMA MAYOH PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIRSTY THOMPSON
Neil Broomfield may have spent eight years policing the streets of Moss Side but it was awaiting results of the British Pie Awards that really scared him.
In the end there was no need to be intimidated as his cheese, leek and apple pie was named champion in the vegetarian pie category at the prestigious Melton Mowbray event and his smoked eel, leek and horseradish pie was named Best Fish Pie in Britain.
He said: I just couldnt believe it. I was looking online as the results came in, I was glued to it. One happened and then the other. To win at an event like that was just incredible.
Neil had been dealing with everything from street robberies to burglaries with Greater Manchester Police. But three years ago, he decided to return to his passion for food and launched The Great North Pie Company.
For much of that time he juggled making pies with his day job. But a few weeks ago the 33-year-old decided to make pies his full-time occupation. He started out baking at home but now has a room with domestic ovens in Country Fayre in Bramhall.
In fact, you could say that Neil has been on a winning streak. Since starting the business he has won a raft of awards every year including being named North West Fine Food Producer of the Year Award from Food Northwest earlier this year and he received a One Star Gold in the Great Taste Awards.
Starting up his pie company was a return to the career he had always longed for. After finishing university he worked with Paul Heathcote as well as for a Michelin-starred restaurant in Leeds. It was after he returned from travelling the world that he pursued another of his ambitions to join the police. But he has always wanted a food business.
He said: It has been a lot of hard work. One time I had spent all night working during the Manchester riots after the UEFA Cup final.
Then I came home and started making my pies straight away so I could be at the farmers markets a few hours later. I was sad to leave the police but it feels fantastic to be able to do what I love so much.
Now, Neil cant make his pies fast enough. Theyre readily snapped up by customers at several farmers markets, delis and farm shops around the county. They have also garnered praise from the regions top chefs including Something for the Weekend star and owner of Earle in Hale, Simon Rimmer, as well as Great British Menu winner Nigel Haworth. Nigel has also asked him to consider a corporate contract for supplying Blackburn Rovers Football Club.
His pies come in all sorts of flavours, which Neil continually changes. But one thing that is constant in his creations is the best quality local produce. He has sourced ingredients for his pies from across the region, including Delamere goats cheese.
Now, Neil is focussed on the future and looking for new premises with expansion in mind.
He said: I have had offers from people who want to supply my pies and I have started to supply outside the area. But I dont want to get too big too fast.
I dont have any plans for world domination. I want to focus on showing off the best seasonal and local ingredients and to make sure the quality remains as it is now. This is my main goal. Im very lucky because I love what I do. Every spare minute I get I make pies and I couldnt think of anything better.