Jamaican Pie Mon Gregory Henry adds island flavour to pot pastries
Jerk jackfruit flavour introduced for vegans
Jamaican native Gregory Henry has always had a unique relationship with food, one filled with love and flavour. But it developed to even greater depths after he migrated from home to pursue university studies in Canada. What he never saw coming was reconnecting with his roots by specialising in the making of pot pies.
Pot pies are the ultimate comfort food. So imagine adding a Jamaican fusion into the mix; that oasis is a mouthful. Pie Mon’s pot pies boast rich and tasty ingredients, like carrots, onions, beans, Scotch bonnet pepper, thyme and many others, all topped with a creamy sauce baked into a delicious, savoury pastry. The boneless oxtail is sure to hit the right spot in spice and flavour. Jerk chicken lovers have an option of ordering the pot pie in regular or spicy. Fans of seafood can dig right into the jerk shrimp pot pie. And leaving no ‘stove’ unturned when it comes to satisfying appetites, he introduced the jerk jackfruit pot pie for vegans.
“Pies are usually bland, so adding the bold and unique Jamaican flavours to them has really changed the way people view and taste the dish. The fusion aspect draws people in from all walks of life,” he told Food.
Missing his family’s cooking back at home led to the food lover exploring everything culinary. Watching videos online, to maintain his student budget, resulted in the experimentation with recipes and techniques, which only fed his hunger for knowledge. Before he knew it, he was helping himself and making dishes fit for a king.
The self-taught chef brought it even closer to home with his attempts at mastering a specific home-cooked meal: chicken pot pies. “Pies are something that’s nostalgic for me. I used to make them with my mom, growing up. She made a chicken pot pie when I was little once, and it became one of my favourite things,” he reflected. Living away from her meant that his appetite no longer had access to this palatable pleasure, so he brought the comfort food to the comfort of his new home.
Adding to that sense of sentimentality is the fact that pies are a part of the culture in Toronto. With that dual element going hand in hand, Henry became ‘Pie Mon’.
“A large part of my business has to do with the convenience factor. Pies make a great snack and are enjoyed by people of all different cultures. Because they can be stored frozen, they can be enjoyed at any hour of the day or night. I felt like pies were missing our Jamaican flavour and wanted to add that in there,” he said.
He started the business as a means of coping with COVID-19. After losing his job, he took the free time to hone his skills, sharing pies with friends and family. Word of mouth did the rest. It wasn’t before long that he was in the baking business, “Jamaican culture is very much mainstream here. So many people are familiar with our cuisine, and they’re also familiar with fusion foods, since Toronto is such a multicultural city.” So the taste of the pie, as a result of this familiarity, resonates with the people.
Primarily a delivery service, he had casted a wide net across the city. That purchasing option complements the convenience of the dish and the times, when the aim is to remain indoors.
Henry is hoping that these pot pies will one day be available storewide, “I enjoy sharing my culture with others, and these pot pies have allowed me to do that in a new and exciting way.”
For more information on Pie Mon, visit the website www.piemon.ca or follow on Instagram: @piemon.ca.