Toronto chef keeps selling out of his homemade beef patties
Toronto's hunger for beef patties has turned a local entrepreneur's side gig into a home business that pumps out hundreds of patties weekly.
Peter Pham, the owner of Phamilyeats, says he never expected his business to see the success it has so far. What started as a Zoom tutorial with a friend has snowballed into a project he runs from home with a two-item menu: pot pies and beef patties.
A few months since launching, Phamilyeats has sold around 500 pies and nearly 13,000 patties.
Pham, 31, currently works full time at a warehouse job in Vaughan, but says he'll be quitting next month to run his business exclusively.
"I didn't set out to start this thing, and through a series of chance events... it's surpassed any and all expectations," says Pham. "It's been exhausting but also exhilarating and incredibly fulfilling at the same time."
It's been a while since Pham worked in the cooking industry (his past experience includes culinary gigs in Toronto and Hong Kong) but a temporary layoff at the onset of COVID-19 gave him some time to take stock of his priorities, he says.
Pot pies have always been his specialty; today Phamilyeats offers chicken and short rib versions that are totally dairy-free.
But it wasn't until a friend reached out from P.E.I. asking for a patty-making tutorial over Zoom that Pham really started to perfect his beef patty recipe.
Thanks to the Toronto's Caribbean communities and the popularization of these flaky pastries, patties might as well be our municipal dish.
Phamilyeat's crimped crust version strays from Jamaican origins and leans more toward a homestyle version with minced beef, a secret spice blend, Scotch Bonnets, beef stock, and homemade pastry.
After posting his beef patties to Instagram, Pham started getting DMs about them. Eventually, through word of mouth and social media, the number of orders grew, bringing Phamilyeats into a crop of other Toronto home businesses that have exploded during lockdown.
"Being that patties and pot pies are two of my favourite things to eat personally, and seeing the happiness my food has brought people during a really tough year, I feel like I've reconnected with my love for cooking and that I’m doing it with purpose again," says Pham.
"I don't know if I've always wanted to start a food business—but if I can do something that feels this fulfilling and build a business around it, then yeah, sure, let's do it!"
Phamilyeats sells patties for $25 a dozen, and 10-inch pot pies for $25-$35. Pham delivers on weekends between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Pick-up is also available on weekends from Sheppard and Leslie. Orders can be made online.
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