Aussies haven’t notched many points in the culinary canon, but anyone who’s traveled to those parts can (generally) vouch for meat pies. From gas stations to gourmet bakeries, the savory crusts are ubiquitous—a national food of sorts.
"Like hot dogs here," offers Casey Cooper, who along with Deke Kotrla is launching a food truck, 314 Pie, devoted to them.
Pals who met at the University of Texas, Cooper and Kotrla years ago fled their high-paying tech gigs for something more fulfilling. Cooper, with aspirations of opening a bakery, went to culinary school. Kotrla googled "adventurous jobs" and ended up at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Trips there meant stopovers in New Zealand and Austrialia—and many resultant meat pies that would inspire this fledgling partnership.
They have 10 pies in mind (all handmade), with the selection changing with the seasons. The truck will carry around five kinds—a couple staples plus rotators. Varieties range from the traditional steak and onion to pancetta mac and cheese, seafood chowder, and chicken, bacon, and cheese, which both guys love. But really, "Casey could wrap anything in that crust and make it delicious."
Recipe tweaking has happened for the past six months. Cooper and Kotrla host weekly taste testing parties with friends—lucky crew. They’ll carry tomato sauce for traditionalists who want to slather it on top, but that’s probably not necessary. "We pack as much as we can in those five-inch pies," says Cooper when referring to the scratch sauces going inside.
Their former FedEx truck is more or less ready to roll. Kotrla and Cooper outfitted it themselves and basically designed it from scratch. Unlike other four-wheelers, this one runs by car battery (no generator means less noise). Since they’re not cooking onboard it’s also considerably smaller, making parking easier. They hope to be at it by the end of August but the next step is permitting, and we all know how long that can take.