To local chef Logan Niles, pot pies are serious business, and comfort food is no joke. Niles, fondly known as Seattle’s “Flour Whisperer,” started creating pot pies in January 2017, as a chef with the former Josephine.com platform.
“When I started making pot pies, I wasn't thinking about creating a huge business,” she said. “It was just to earn a bit of extra income. The Josephine.com platform was neighbors cooking for neighbors; a food sharing platform based on the idea of social justice. It was a chance to help low income, usually immigrant families earn extra income doing what they did best, making amazing food.”
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York, Niles trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. She worked as a private chef throughout Manhattan, and founded and ran Blue Nile Catering, an upscale private catering company in New York City. After relocating to Seattle, she took her passion for healthy comfort food and bringing families and communities together, to apply her culinary art skills to crafting delicious pot pies.
“The best food we eat comes from neighbors, or a friend's aunt, or that person down the block who happened to make the best tamales,” said Niles. "For me, I decided to create a modern take on pot pies, and a dish I would feel good feeding my kid. Everything's natural and fresh. We don't use bases or bouillon. My motto is, no bases, no bouillon, no bullsh*t. We keep it really clean, healthy and diverse.”
Creating the perfect pot pie is an art form for a trained chef. While grandma’s pie may be simple and delicious, Niles combines science and creativity to craft a dish which elicits rave review from her customers.
“Our pies are built with layers of flavor: slow simmered sauces made from scratch with the quality proteins and fresh vegetables enveloped in melt-in-your-mouth, herb and spice-studded crusts baked with high quality, 'European style' butter,” says Niles on her website. "Our proprietary cooking equipment ensures that your pie comes out perfect every time while maintaining its nutritional value, texture and taste.”
By adapting the classic pot pie recipe to meet today’s contemporary requests, Niles has created pies that are healthy and hearty, while maintaining their delicious, comforting reputation. All her pies are made fresh so every individual serving pie is made to order. From vegetarian, paleo, halal and gluten-free options, Niles considers most dietary requests.
“I made sure all the fillings were gluten free from the start,” she explained. “I worked on a gluten-free crust and we are now on our third version, which is really good. Someone also asked for paleo, so we did a paleo crust. We also have a vegan crest that doesn't include shortening.”
Niles also offers a halal pie option. Halal is meat that is butchered under the guidance of a halal butcher, and is common among Muslims who follow strict dietary needs. All the chicken and lamb used in the pies is halal, which can be difficult to find in most areas.
“I went to an event last year and there was a lovely young lady who was Muslim and she asked what I did for a living,” said Niles. “When I said I made pot pies, she said she bet I didn’t have halal. I shared with her that indeed I did have halal and her face lit up and she told me she felt so seen.”
This year, Pot Pie Factory has seen their sales increase nearly 900 percent. Niles attributes much of this boost to the community increasing their support for Black businesses.
“It’s been a huge boost for us to have people find out who we are and what we do, because up until this year, it's just been me, two little prep ladies plugging away to just stay afloat,” Niles explained. “For the past six months, the growth has been absolutely phenomenal. I've got seven staff who work Monday through Friday. My overhead has exploded, but our sales have also exploded.”
Pot Pie Factory pies are delivered partially cooked and frozen, then put on ice.
“There's a specific aesthetic, feel and experience when you reheat one of our pies, which can't be duplicated if you just take the raw version and put it in an oven,” said Niles. “Trust me, I've tried. It would save us a lot of time and effort, but it just doesn't create the same product.”
Pot Pie Factory currently has only pick-up or delivery options as they do not yet have a retail location. Due to their overwhelming popularity, pies can be ordered on-line with a wait time of 2-3 weeks. Seattleites clearly believe they are worth the wait!
For more information, menu options and ordering, visit www.potpiefactory.co