Willy's Pies has been one of the great culinary success stories of the pandemic period. We asked the man behind the pies – pie-maker par excellence Will Lewis – to create a recipe exclusively for us. Our collaborative pie – the Drake's Ox Cheek, Guinness and Kidney Pie – becomes available at 12pm GMT today (Sunday 28th). If you aren't lucky enough to get hold of one (they sell like hotcakes, as it were) Will has been kind enough to provide us with the recipe, so you can make your own at home.
We also caught up with Will about how he comes up with new fillings each week, and what's next for Willy's Pies.
Photography by John Spinks
Drake's: Tell us about how Willy’s Pies came about. Were you anticipating the success you’ve had?
Will Lewis: Willy's Pies began in the first lockdown, March 2020. My flatmate and I decided to break the boredom of home workouts and pre-midday Stella consumption by jumping on our bikes and hand-delivering pies to your door for you to devour. We started at 15 pies, mainly dropping them off to mates, and to be honest we were anticipating it to die off. But word spread through the powers of Instagram, and we quickly got up to 100 pies a week. I was struggling to stick a carton of orange juice in the fridge alongside all the suet pastry and butchered oxtail. We’ve now moved into a commercial kitchen up the road and haven't looked back since.
For you, what makes a good pie?
Generosity – a skimpy filling annoys me. Pies are about comfort and warmth, and a pathetically filled pie does not offer that. Cooking with quality ingredients goes without saying, and homemade pastry is essential for the ultimate end result.