Owners of a family business which grew rapidly after success at last year’s British Pie Awards in Melton expects its products, which include squirrel pies, to be in even bigger demand after they were endorsed by Jamie Oliver.
Phil and Kath Walmsley and their daughter Aimi - the family behind Old Dalby-based Nice Pie, formerly known as Something Nice - were visited by the celebrity chef and his co-presenter Jimmy Doherty when they were filming a feature for their Friday Night Feast programme on Channel 4.
The show highlights unusual foods and the makers were particularly interested in the exotic pie fillings the company specialises in, such as kangaroo, crocodile, elk and buffalo, as well as squirrel.
And it is a big opportunity to showcase the company, which has grown sales by around 150 per cent since it won a clutch of honours at the pie awards last May.
Phil said: “We were extremely nervous when Jamie came to film with us but he was so down to earth. He loved our pies and when he said ‘this tastes amazing’ I thought ‘we’re in trouble here’ because when he endorses food it becomes very popular, of course, so we might get even more orders.”
When it airs, on February 13 at 8pm, the programme will also feature the licensees of South Croxton pub The Golden Fleece, Adam and Debbie Miles, who serve squirrel pies supplied by Nice Pie.
For Nice Pie, the squirrel pies have undoubtedly raised their profile enormously - they were also featured on Channel 5 show The Wright Stuff last year. Such has been the demand for their speciality pies that the price has gone up from £4 to £8.50 as they sell each batch so quickly. Squirrel meat is also available in pate and ready meals.
But the exotic fillings are only a part of what they do. The company have recently become accepted into the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, which means they can make and sell traditional Melton pies.
Phil said: “We are a traditional pie producer but to stand out from the crowd you have to have a different take on things and our exotic fillings are very popular.
“It has been a very good year for us. We’ve gone from being a small hobby business making a few pies in the kitchen of our house to taking over our large utility room to make the pies and now we are converting a stable block into a commercial kitchen.”