Ask any self-respecting Antipodean what they miss from their home turf, and chances are high that the humble pie will feature on that list.
This hand-sized piece of goodness has been described as Australia´s national dish and is considered to be part of New Zealand´s national identity. On average, Aussies eat 12 of them a year, and New Zealanders a whopping 15, more often than not while watching Australian Rules football or rugby league. The pie is so popular that New Zealand even opened its own version of McDonalds, but instead of burgers they sold (you guessed it) pies!
So imagine the excitement across the expat community when Santiago´s first antipodean pie shop opened last year, Jimbo´s Australian Pie Shop. I will never forget that first bite I took of that Mince & Cheese because it took me back to my youth in New Zealand, standing under endless blue sky with wet hair and togs one hand, pie in the other, as I walked home from the pools. There were just no words to describe how good it was. Here I have a chat with its owner, James/Jimbo Martin, the Australian who brought pies to our Chilean tables.
Hi Jimbo! Tell us about yourself.
My name is Jamie Martin, I am from Brisbane Australia. I met my Chilean-born wife, Patricia, in Brisbane in 1999. I have a background in construction in Australia. I completed 2 apprenticeships, plasterer and tiler, I had 2 trades at age 23. Bakeries are my families background on my mothers side stretching way back to my great grand father. Everyone male on that side of the family is/was a baker. As was my dear mum who is now retired, that’s until I need her help I was working in bakeries owned by my uncles when I was very young for a few bob pocket money. That advanced over time to doing night shifts and learning a thing or two.
What brought you to Chile?
I first visited Chile in 2000 and was here for 4 months. During that time I craved a traditional Australian meat pie so I began making a couple of dozen at one time in my mother in law’s kitchen. I gave many to friends and family but eventually they demanded that they pay me for them. It wasn’t my intention but before long I was swamped with orders. A bit of wondering, dreaming and light conversation ensued as to whether a pie shop would work. We then returned to Australia and resumed our jobs.
Why open a pie shop? How has it been received?
In 2013, Patricia’s mum required a double knee reconstruction and with no one to take care of her we decided to take a year off from our busy lives in Australia and take care of her. In no time at all I started thinking pie shop. Once Mama was back on her feet we set up a shop in Curico. We bought a property about 40km to the east, that was home for 2 years. We decided to move the business to Santiago in 2016. We are getting great feedback from the local people as well as expats. We have made many friends in our time here and hope to make many more, and we have no immediate plans to return to Australia though it is our intention to retire at home, the fishing is too good to turn our backs on
If you had to pick a favorite, which pie would it be?
I go through phases, at the moment I go for the beef, chilli and cheese but I think a pie with mushy peas is my all time favorite.
Can you reveal to us your favorite places in Santiago and Chile?