Toronto’s hunger for beef patties has turned a local entrepreneur’s side gig into a home business, pumping out hundreds of patties every week.
Peter Pham, the owner of Phamilyeats, said he never expected his company to see the success to date. What started as a zoom tutorial with a friend has grown into a project he does from home with a menu of two items: pot pies and beef patties.
A few months since launch, Phamilyeats has sold around 500 cakes and nearly 13,000 patties.
Pham, 31, currently works full time at a warehouse in Vaughan, but says he will quit next month to run his business exclusively.
“I didn’t want to start this thing, and through a series of random events … it exceeded all expectations,” says Pham. “It was exhausting, but at the same time exhilarating and incredibly fulfilling.”
It has been a while since Pham has worked in the cooking industry (his previous experience includes culinary appearances in Toronto and Hong Kong), but a layoff at the start of COVID-19 gave him some time to take stock of his priorities, says he.
Pot pies have always been his specialty; Today Phamilyeats offers chicken and short rib versions that are completely dairy-free.
But it wasn’t until a friend at PEI asked for a patty-making tutorial through Zoom that Pham really started perfecting his beef patty recipe.
Thanks to Toronto’s Caribbean communities and the popularization of these puff pastries, patties might as well be our urban dish.
Phamilyeat’s crimp crust version hails from Jamaica and tends towards a more homestyle version with ground beef, a secret spice mix, scotch bonnets, beef broth, and homemade pastries.
After Pham posted his beef patties on Instagram, he got DMs about it. Eventually, word of mouth and social media orders soared, bringing Phamilyeats to a number of other Toronto home businesses that exploded during the lockdown.
“Since patties and pies are two of my favorite things to do and I see the happiness my food brought people in a really difficult year, I feel like I have reconnected with my love of cooking and I do it again on purpose, “says Pham.
“I don’t know if I’ve always wanted to start a grocery store – but if I can do something that feels so fulfilling and build a business on it, then yeah, sure, let’s do it!”
Phamilyeats sells patties for $ 25 per dozen and 10-inch pies for $ 25 to $ 35. Pham delivers between 3pm and 8pm on weekends. Collection is also available from Sheppard and Leslie on weekends. Orders can be placed online.