Gaucho Pie Co may be the best thing you put in your hands this year. The tasty golden pockets have become a quick addiction in this house, fast favourites of everyone who tastes one. Perfecting the recipe, a labour of love in the highest regard, is no small feat, and with new flavours like aloo gobi or the soon to debut Reuben, the brains (and beauty) behind the operations Susan Arevalo runs a tight ship, running the wholesale business with her two brothers, Claudio and Pedro.
We dropped by their tidy space near Geary and Dufferin, the hub of great food these days in Toronto (check Famiglia Baldassarre, Knockout Ice Cream, Parallel) for a chat, and yeah, to pick up more empanadas.
Libby Roach- How did Gaucho Pie Co get its start?
Susan Arevalo- We are 3 siblings whom are all passionate about our ancestry (Argentina) through its food and stories. We all have different skills and make the business go by true teamwork.
Our father was a baker and having grown up in a bakery as a youth, the last thing I ever wanted was to be in the business! After leaving an ESL career behind and raising 3 children, the timing was right and the urge was there to once again get into the hospitality and baking world. I guess you can say it was meant to be. The inspiration behind Gaucho Pie Co is without a doubt, our mother Elena. It is my mother who brought back our family recipes first hand with her when she emigrated from Argentina in 1976. Throughout the years, no matter the gathering, when my mother brought empanadas, they would quickly become the topic of conversation. Like any great food with soul and a story as its primary ingredients; people fall in love with them. We collectively decided to do what so many people suggested we do, “Why don’t you sell these to the public? Others asked if we would consider selling them some? That is in fact how we started; selling very small quantities. The logo was created by my husband, Anthony Walsh, a chef and true Artist at heart. I have to also give credit to Baiba Zandmane who took his original drawing and helped us bring it to life!
LR-Elena is also the inspiration from the O&B outpost Leña, named after your mother. Is the dough her recipe?
SA-Our recipes, doughs and fillings are absolutely top secret… period. They are based on recipes handed down in our family.
LR- Fair game! And how do you come up with the fillings?
SA-Our inspiration the ideas are either riffs on a traditional ideas or based on things that we love and are delicious! Our best seller is the traditional empanada and close behind is the mushroom. The classic speaks for itself; warm spices, olives, and real grass-fed beef from Tamarack Farms. It is a little ironic that the mushroom being 100% vegan is so popular, with all of the inspiration originally coming from a meat worshiping culture like Argentina!
LR- And what’s next for flavours?
SA- The reality with the mushroom (Vegano) is that is is that we have perfected the flavouring, textures and technique and have come up with a result that rivals any “Beyond Meat” filling.
We just finished perfecting our 8th empanada the Ruben. Certainly a sandwich we all love and wanted to see it in one of our fillings. It will be a winner for sure.
Order ahead, or pop by to see what’s available. Prices start at $30/dozen, or $20 for two dozen or more. Current flavours include:
Traditional Gaucho, Spicy Pork and Kimchi, Charcoal Chicken, Susana’s Butter Chicken, Beef and Roasted Red Peppers, BBQ Pulled Pork, Choripan, Vegan Mushroom, Calzone, Vegan Mushroom and Aloo Gobi.
Availability may vary, so best to phone ahead. Make sure to follow them on Instagram for the latest. @gauchopieco
346 Westmoreland Avenue North
Toronto, Ontario M6H3M3