The savoury pie episode of Recipe to Riches was one I was waiting for this week. Recipe to Riches (“a new competitive reality series where each week, Canadian home cooks battle to have their original recipes become a President’s Choice product, win $25,000 and become eligible for a grand prize of $250,000″) is now in its fourth week and I couldn’t wait to see who was going to follow in Glo, Jacqui and John‘s footsteps, winning the weekly competition and on their way to winning the $250k.
Pies (especially savoury ones) are something that I am definitely interested in – if you can find decent, home-style pies, they can be a lifesaver on busy weeknights so I was very keen to see what President’s Choice were going to choose.
This week’s episode featured Melaney‘s Bannock Hazelnut Pie, Wayne‘s Salt Fish and Ackey Pie and Tikka‘s Vegan Pot Pie. Gotta say that none of these grabbed my attention, and I doubt that I would go out of my way to seek any of these out in my local Loblaw’s. Still, I trust the judges, Laura and Dana to choose tasty dishes so I figured I’d wait out the episode, especially interested in seeing how the public reacted to the tastings….
The pie I liked the look of the most was the Vegan Pot Pie, though I am not a tofu fan so I am still not sure I would buy it. I am surprised this didn’t make the first round cut actually as I feel that it is the most marketable/ commercially viable and has the most mass appeal. I am sure that the President’s Choice team could have made this into a winning product. You know. One I might even try…
In the marketing challenge, I was bemused by the Salt Fish and Ackey Pie being rebranded “Grab’N Yum Jamaican Pie“. Really? Sounds like something you would pick up at the 711… I was happy to see Melaney’s Savoury Bannock Pie retained its original name. I loved both Melaney and Wayne’s enthusiasm for their products and their marketing campaigns for what Dana called “unfamiliar items” – they really did do a great job of getting their product into the hands of the consumers on the streets…. At the end of the day, though, despite the silly name, I was sad the the “Grab “N Yum” didn’t win – because I think that it might have made fish appetizing to someone (i.e. me) who is just learning to eat fish.
To be honest, I was a little skeptical about this week’s winning dish – I mean bannock is delicious when it’s freshly made, preferably over the campfire, as I’ve learned to make it on outdoor education trips with my Grade 5 and 6 students :) But an unleavened bread – how would this work for a mass-produced pie? In fact, how would it work for little old ME – who has a love-hate relationship with all things bread (love to eat it, hate to make it and this shows in my not very successful efforts)? However, as the judges point out, this was a truly original Canadian recipe and it makes First Nations flavours accessible to the general market.
In fact, the bannock was easy – the innards of the pie were too. I whipped this up in just under 30 minutes. I love the rustic look and wonder how the store-bought version will compare. Surely it won’t look as homey as this:
I found the combination of vegetables and hazelnuts in the “filling” a little odd. It tasted like something you might find at a vegan restaurant, or something that one might come up with on “Chopped” with a bunch of mystery basket ingredients. I mean, it was perfectly pleasant and very pretty….
With the bannock on top, sprinkled with hazelnuts and baked, I do admit it looked lovely… Such a gorgeous colour the sweet potatoes lend to the topping.
Freshly made, this was ok. Tasty-ish. Definitely not a hit with meat-loving Mr Neil. I mean, I would eat this but I don’t know if I would go out of my way to buy it. In terms of savoury pies, I much prefer a chicken pot pie. Even a vegetarian pot pie. And, more importantly for a 2 person household, definitely not great the next day. Or the day after that. For me, a savoury pie has got to make great leftovers. Which this didn’t. Sorry Melaney – I really wanted to like this a lot more… It’s definitely original though and I think people will be curious to try it – we’ll see how it goes once it’s launched in the stores this weekend.
I will most definitely be checking out the store bought version of this product because I cannot wait to see how it translates for the mass market. Will it be the exact same product or will President’s Choice change it up? Once I have tasted this, I will post an update here….
Check out the recipes from each episode every Thursday here.
Disclosure: Recipe to Riches is compensating official bloggers with Loblaws gift cards for making the winning recipe and writing a review post. All opinions are 100% my own.