The apple never falls too far from the tree. So when Terry Cremean, founder of Boscastle Pastries, sold his well-loved Melbourne business in 2018, he should have known that his son would eventually get back into the family trade.
“I absolutely loved working there,” says Pat Cremean, owner of Pieman’s Son. “I’ve grown up in a pie company for basically my whole life: as a kid I remember kicking pastry around the factory and bringing party pies to all the parties – my mates used to love it. When it was sold, I didn’t know what to do with myself.”
Without Boscastle to keep him busy, the young pastry scion travelled around and worked a succession of corporate jobs, but nothing ever hit the highs of the pie game. Then, a pandemic-triggered redundancy gave Pat some unexpected free time. In late 2021, around the time of the Grand Final, he went over to his folks’ place, fired up the oven and put on a charity pie sale. All the old Boscastle fans came out of the woodwork and it was a roaring success.
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“The response was amazing, people who hadn’t been able to get our sorts of pies for a few years were chomping at the bit – they just couldn’t go enough of them,” Pat says.
After that, the path was clear. He needed to find a shop, and he needed to sell pies. Just over a year later he opened the Pieman’s Son in Heidelberg Heights, five minutes from where he grew up. The small shop is on the site that housed Arnold’s Swiss Home Made Cakes, a local favourite for more than 60 years. Pat remembers the queues that used to form outside Arnold’s on a Saturday. Now, his pies are starting to make queues at the same place.
The hefty pies – which come in single and family sizes – come in all the usual flavours: classic beef, Thai chicken, Moroccan lamb. A few months ago, Pat ran a beef ragu special that sold too well to leave the menu. One of the star vegetarian pies is inspired by the fillings of a spanakopita: for that pie, he uses veggies – garlic, onion, silverbeet – as well as herbs, including dill and parsley, that he grows on a small farm in Kyneton. Ingredients in the pies and other dishes will change depending on what’s in season and growing well up there. Other bakery favourites, such as pork and fennel sausage rolls and big hunks of vanilla slice, are also on offer.
At any time, there’s about a half-dozen cakes available by the slice (the current bestseller is the pistachio and lime), which is best enjoyed with coffee – beans come from St Remio. Pieman’s Son’s ready-made meals, which include everything from pasta sauces to lasagnes and meatballs, have also become steady sellers. If you’ve got a kid’s – or a fun adult’s – party coming up, then be sure to grab a dozen party pies from the freezer.
Pieman’s Son has been such a word-of-mouth success that it’s even seen Terry get back on the tools. “It’s forced him out of retirement temporarily, just to give me a hand,” Pat says. “It’s reminding him of what he was like when he first started out so he’s absolutely loving it.”