Eddy Urias-Castro is pie-obsessed. When the El Salvador-born manufacturing production manager goes a week without baking, he gets antsy. “I’m just like, ‘Damn it, I need to bake some pies,’” he says. “I don’t really know when it clicked, but somewhere along the way I just thought maybe I can test the waters and change careers.”
After experimenting with Willy Wonka-like fervour during the 2020 lockdowns, delivery-only business Munch Bakery came to fruition last December. Now, every fortnight Urias-Castro shops at Preston Market on Sunday, cooks up a storm on Monday and Tuesday in a commercial kitchen, and then delivers his creations on Wednesday.
Perhaps most exciting is the El Pastor, a barbacoa shepherd’s pie made with beef brisket (braised for eight hours in chipotle and adobo) that’s then impressively piped with a lemony chive mash. There’s also the Malaysian-inspired Labu Labu, with caramelised pumpkin, potato and zucchini in a coconutty curry sauce; and the aptly named Humble, a three-apple pie made with fujis, granny smiths and pink ladies.
Urias-Castro has also just added two La Sirene Praline stout pies, too: brisket and mushroom, and barley and cheddar. But keep an eye on Munch Bakery’s Instagram page for new flavours (such as gumbo, which is currently in development).
Pies aside, it’s the Pigsy – a pork-belly-and-shoulder sausage roll that’s sprinkled with crackling (for ultimate umami-ness), seasoned with Chinese five spice and finished with fish and Worcestershire sauces – that gets Urias-Castro’s mum’s tick of approval.
Since the family moved to Australia to escape the civil war, Urias-Castro’s best memories are of eating and cooking with her. On some occasions she’d reprimand him for bastardising traditional dishes. On others, she’d pick him up from a party and join him for a 2am kebab at Turkish restaurant Alasya in Brunswick on the way home.
“It was always exciting seeing some culture that you didn’t see a lot of start up a food business,” says Urias-Castro. “That’s how we connected – she’d cook me something, or we’d go out and eat.”
This mix of flavours and inspirations is evident in Urias-Castro’s cuisine-crossing pastries. Short term, he says, you’ll see Munch Bakery pop up at markets. But longer term he hopes to buy his own pie trailer or perhaps even open a pie shop.
“I literally started with no money,” he says. “The money that people paid to buy the pies, that’s what I’d use to buy the ingredients to make them. I’m looking forward to continuing down this road because the dream is definitely to go all-in.”
Munch Bakery delivers every second Wednesday within 15 kilometres of Preston, or pick-up is available the night before between5.30pm and 6pm at 208 Tyler Street, Preston. It’s $25 for two pies or $50 for four. Order online.