Ex-Latics chairman's hunt for the ultimate pie
His pies have been sent into space, and now they're descending on your local supermarket.
Bill Kenyon’s Ultimate Purveyors has been quietly preparing to bring pasty perfection to major supermarkets, restaurants and pubs, with a little bit of Royal treatment.
But these aren’t your average pies.
“There’s a lot of chemistry in this,” Bill said.
“Over the past two-and-a-half years, it’s progressed from being a research project to designing gastro foods using process of sous vide - boiling products in a bag.”
The former Wigan Athletic chairman added: “Then we had the idea of the ultimate pie.
“I used to get indigestion from pies, so I studied them from across the world and deconstructed them and that’s where the idea for Ultimate Purveyors came from.”
The development team have been creating combinations using research of different foods from around the world, to create “jaw-droppingly tasty” soups and pies, from their St Helens base.
Their team even includes top chef Simon Bower - who has cooked for high-profile figures including Steven Gerrard, former Prime Minister Tony Blair and even Her Majesty The Queen.
Simon said he and Bill hit it off within minutes of being introduced to each other through a mutual supplier, around three years ago.
“I’ve worked in fine dining, Michelin-starred restaurants, bistros and brasseries, and even worked for Marco Pierre-White,” the 49-year-old said.
“But this is probably one of the best working relationships I’ve ever experienced.
“Bill’s an eccentric character, but very approachable. We have a cracking relationship, and I find that’s very healthy for a business, especially when you’re sharing ideas.”
Simon, who also runs Parsons Pantry, added: “The clue is in the name - we want to make the ultimate foods.”
And chances are, you’ve already come across one of the ultimate pies.
In December, an Ultimate Purveyor-made meat-and-potato pie was sent into space to promote the launch of the World Pie Eating Championship. The stunt was described as a “pie-way to heaven” as Wigan’s favourite foodstuff conquered space.
Pub and club chain boss Tony Callaghan was looking for an eye-catching new way to publicise the annual championship and had the brainwave of sending one of the pastry products into the earth’s outer atmosphere.
Tony and Ultimate Purveyors came together to send the pie 18.6 miles into the atmosphere, attached to a helium balloon.
It landed in a field in the north Lancashire village of Bentham.
But just like the space-pie itself, Bill and his development team are coming back down to Earth and turning their attention to creating no fuss, premium-quality snack options.
“The quality of our food in indistinguishable from that which you’d expect to be served even in some pretty high end establishments,” 70-year-old Bill said.
The former Latics supremo has even eyed up a prime location from which to develop gastro-greatness.
“We’ve already got premises to develop within the Wigan area - the old Edwards’ Bakery in Platt Bridge, which we’ll be developing on the next stage of expansion.”
And with the grand plan, the former Latics chairman is set to complete his path from pure businessman to serious gastronome.
After stepping down from the Latics board in 1992, Bill went on to establish an award-winning rehab centre, the Transitional Rehabilitation Unit. But even as chairman, Bill showed inklings of being a serious foodie.
“We used to score the best pies in the league, just for a bit of fun,” he said.
Iain Macauley, part of the Ultimate Purveyor team, said: “Bill is an entrepreneur, and food is his passion. He started cooking for friends and family and they said he should try making food for restaurants and supermarkets.
“He even researches soups from around the world and is creating combinations you would never think of, but are jaw-droppingly tasty.
“He wants to make dishes using local ingredients. We’re designing products using vegetables that gets rejected from supermarkets for being wonky etc.”
To find out more, visit ultimatepurveyors.co.uk