The Pie shop Surveillance Project culminated into a 24 page colour publication showcased at XCHC Christchurch as part of the Industrial Waltham exhibition of the Open Workshop#1 Artists Collective. And on 26 May 2016 in was presented as a PechKucha style talk revealed for the first time publicly at the Christchurch Art Gallery -Te Puna o Waiwhetu. Documentation of this can be found here:
Today I cleaned out the stocks of pies from the Waltham area. The five biggest pie shops were targeted, with a total of 84 pies being collected. Still waiting to hear how the area managed with reduced pie numbers. Still also waiting to hear how the Christchurch Art Gallery felt receiving a free lunch* from an anonymous donor.
With help from some pie-loving photographers, the images below were captured.
*At this point, it should be made clear that monies from The Christchurch City Council's Community Arts Development Fund have been used for this project
Leons is the café directly across the street from the main gate of the condemned and now weed-infested stadium. A prime location for a food eatery if gigs were still happening as they were in its heyday. The surrounding 4 square blocks are a cluster of used car sales lots.
Tenants obviously live within the large building onsite, or maybe the multi-chambered flat has always housed the business owners.
Everything is cooked on site, except for the pies
Leons is normally a busy lunch spot with attractive food that you can eat either out front on the footpath or on the deck space provided out back with a fantastic view of the ghost fans in the stands.
Sport memorabilia is hanging around on the walls of this place.
I’ve seen several people working here, at least four. I have a feeling Mum is a tough English-speaking Chinese descendant, while all the family have strong Kiwi accents.
I heard the tall son yelling back from the kitchen; mum was criticising him for having not attended me when I walked in and waited no more that 20 seconds.
There were maybe 12 pies in the case. Quiet for 12:30pm with just 3 other guys coming in during the 5 minutes I was there. I’ve seen it busier on a previous surveillance.
I took away a Steak and Cheese pie for $4.00 and rendezvoused with a man in the botanical gardens across town. We sat on a park bench talking pie as he ate.
He found it slightly red and buttery inside, while non-greasy to the touch. Enjoying the flakiness and real melted cheese, he said it was well worth the cost.
As planned, we returned to Bun’s 24/7 Bakery, this time at 12AM on a summer t-shirt night. I brought with me three competent tasters, hungry for conversation. Sitting outside for a while we observed the late traffic of teenagers and shift workers getting their eat on. Some young kids peed onto the sidewall and even tipped over a table and milk sign creating a furniture sculpture, which remained in place throughout the 40 minutes, we were there.
The Ferry/Moorehouse/Waltham crossroads of activity makes for an adventurous outing on a Saturday. There were quite a few wobbling zombies on their way somewhere. One old lady with a cane & wearing a sleeping gown asked us for a cigarette. Another man warned us to “watch out for the blacks”. In all, I counted 24 people making transactions at Bun’s.
This is a place that sells buckets of lollies, milk, & bread but can not be considered a convenient store because it’s mostly ready-to-eat takeaway food that they provide. Our hosts were a large male Indian man and a busy behind the scenes woman, also appearing to be of Indian heritage. She was kind enough to offer the use of her store toilet for me. This is where I snapped some sneaky shots of the bakery background.
The man was surprisingly open to our probing questions, like… How often do you rotate in fresh new pies? (every 8 hours) …and… What kind of late night trouble have you seen in your experience? Perhaps unwilling to share the truly sexy memories, he told the story of a couple Maori guys that actually have come in and cleaned out every bit of food in the case. No joke, they pointed to it all, had it packaged and paid to take home a mixture of breaded, fried, roasted and cheesy meals… enough for…?
The Steak Onion Cheese and Tomato, with a dark salty sauce and big chunks of beef.
The Chicken and Mushroom, which I had observed before, but this time having 2 experienced judges- one labeled it jelly, the other found it too salty and couldn’t finish.
& the Peppered Steak, being dry with big specks of cracked black pepper. A cheese sauce perhaps? Needing additional tomato sauce to balance acidity. Overall, standard to average.
I noticed the receipt identified two of these were considered “gourmet” and cost me more than any other pie so far at $4.40
I heard, from the judges, talk about “structure”, and discovered the telling detail of a pie pastry that has slowly dried in the cabinet. This is seen in the cross section strata of the crust being light/next to dark. I learned that a new pie might possibly burst, while an older aged pie will show signs of fluffiness (not flake) and contain a denser filling.