Beehive are the people behind our pies, scotch eggs and savoury delights at The Pilcrow. We asked them some questions...
Who is Beehive?
We are brothers Ross & Owen Parker, Emily Fitton & Alex Moffat.
Ross - after working in other people’s kitchens for over fifteen years - Harvey Nichols, The Modern, Arbutus (one Michelin star) - decided to move back to Manchester to set-up a food business supplying to restaurants & bars. Owen, has come on board gradually as the business has grown, he looks after all the admin stuff like paperwork, deliveries, invoicing etc, as well as helping in the kitchen. Emily is the second chef, and Queen of the crimp. She works alongside Ross and helps to develop recipes and ideas. Alex is the helping hand in the kitchen, the Moff provides good vibes.
What is Beehive?
Beehive Food is a Manchester based food supplier delivering delicious, handmade bar snacks made with care, integrity and not a hint of pretense. We supply bars and local businesses with pies, savoury eggs, nuts, pickles, etc with an ethos of rom Manchesr, To Manchester. We source all of our ingredients from local suppliers and try to deal with businesses and clients from the region as much as possible.
Why is Beehive?
Beehive exists to try and plug the gap in the market where bars want to sell decent food but don’t have a kitchen or adequate opening hours to facilitate this. We also just really love bar snacks!
What makes a good pie?
A good pie should have a deep golden sheen to the pastry, a tasty filling without artificial preservatives or flavour enhancers and a satisfying bite to the pastry. It should also be the right size so that it’s easy to bite into, we’ve never been about those tall pies that you need to dismantle to eat!
What/who are Beehive's inspirations?
The recipes and traditions of northern english cookery. The two books that we are currently a bit obsessed with are n nglish Cookery by ane Grigson and alt, Spices & Aromatics in the English Kitchen by lizabeth David.
Tell us a little about crimping. Your pies have quite a unique pastry crimp - we like it.
The crimp is important to make sure that the lid is attached to the base properly while cooking, but ideally the crimp should be visually pleasing too. Our hexagonal crimp was just a happy coincidence, we didn’t realise how hive-shaped it was until we took a batch out of the oven!
I read once that in olden times the pastry on a pork pie wasn’t for the eating - it was merely a transport case for the meat on the inside, buffered by the jelly. Can this be true? (Who wouldn’t eat the pastry!?)
Traditionally the pastry was simply there as a means of containing the filling (sanitation and personal hygiene were also factors, people wouldn’t want to eat something their fingers had touched), it was bland and often quite tough, not really suitable for human consumption! But as time went on pastry recipes became more refined and it became usual for people to eat the pastry along with its contents.
Do you think a good pie need always be complimented by a condiment? What are your favourites?
We certainly don’t think that a condiment is entirely necessary but who doesn’t like a tasty pickle or blob of sauce with their pie? We like some red onion chutney, dijon mustard or some piccalilli with ours.
Tell us a little about your vegetarian scotch eggs.
Our Falafel Scotch Egg came about by a request from a vegetarian and gluten intolerant customer who felt left out! We nailed down a Falafel recipe, wrapped it around a soft boiled egg and then rolled it in dukkah spice and our Falafel Scotch Egg was born.
What’s your ideal beer / Beehive combo?
A pork & Bramley apple pie with a pint of Moss cider is amazing!
What are you into at the Pilcrow?
I really like the decor and vibe the place has, it’s like a scandinavian log cabin or something. It’s a very chilled place to have a pint.
What’s next for Beehive?
The plan for the future is to open our own site next year, but in the meantime to just keep getting better at what we do and build the business. We also look forward to extending our range of british charcuterie to include cured meats as well as pates and rillettes.