Smiths Pies of Goondiwindi recently put on the road a $1 million prime mover that is believed to be the world’s first fully equipped, standalone bakery on wheels.
Story and photos Ken Eastwood
Dennis Smith looks exhausted. It’s late morning in Chinchilla, Qld, and it’s 38 degrees Celsius in a scrap of shade he has found on the side of the road. Last night, after cooking and serving pies at the Chinchilla Rodeo for 12 hours, and cleaning up his mobile bakery, he got to bed at 5am. He was up at 6.45 for another big day at the Chinchilla Melon Festival.
Now he’s sitting having a quiet moment, just 10 metres from his new pride and joy – a custom-built 18-metre-long prime mover, fully kitted out as a commercial bakery, with two coldrooms, a freezer, deep-fryers, packaging areas, a food prep area, commercial dishwasher and, most importantly, large ovens that can churn out 30 dozen fresh pies every 20 minutes. Dennis and his father, co-owner Jim, say that in their research they haven’t found any other self-sufficient baking rig in the world like it.
“No-one else has ovens on the truck,” Jim says. “At most showgrounds you only get one 30-amp point and you can’t run ovens on that.” Therefore, most existing pie sellers at showgrounds have pie warmers and they reheat premade pies. But the Smiths Pies rig has its own 150kva diesel generator (and a second, smaller generator) to cook everything fresh from ingredients they source mainly from the Goondiwindi area. “Most people haven’t tasted a fresh pie out of the oven,” Jim says. “We make them all from scratch in the truck.”
The family has a big presence in Goondiwindi. Since the early 1970s, Jim has run Smith’s Bakery there. Most of the meat for the pies is sourced from Yagaburne Beef, out of Goondiwindi, and vegies are sourced through the family’s wholesale fruit and vegetable business also based there.
Dennis says the crucial element in a pie is the folding that goes into the pastry. “In the pastry of our pies, there are 2300 layers – that’s where you get the flake in the pastry,” he says.
This story excerpt is from Issue #115
Outback Magazine: October/November 2017