Sanga's Pies
Where the magic happens - Miro and Chris in the Sanga’s Pies kitchen. Photo Jan Hawkins

In a series of stories supporting local business, we feature an interview with Chris Sangster who, with his brother Rob and friend Miro Kollar, launched the success phenomenon that is Sanga’s Pies.

The bakery and shop have been built by the owners in their Sangster Electrical yard, 4 Chardonnay Street, in Cromwell’s industrial area.

Where did the idea of Sanga’s Pies spring from?

Sanga’s Pies came about via multiple beverages and multiple miles between Cromwell and Alex for Ice Hockey practices.  It started as just a bit of casual chat between Rob, Miro and me, then the Cromwell Bakery came up for sale which kicked things into motion.  We missed out on the bakery and decided to build something of our own, which lead, over a number of years, to the ‘sangtuary’ where we are based today.

What have been the main challenges your business has faced?

Challenges thus far revolve around being rudely awakened by an alarm clock at a very abnormal time every morning!  Apart from the crazy amount of hours put in to build the bakery and shop, there hasn’t been too many challenges – just hard work, which is part of everyday life.

And the highs?

Highs to date definitely can’t get any higher than people’s reactions and positivity towards our pies.  the feedback we have had over such a small amount of time in business  has been amazingly rewarding – it’s very cool.

What plan do you have for the future?

The future of Sanga’s Pies we hope will be a successful one.  We plan to be around for some time yet, so the waistlines of Cromwell people may grow ever so slightly.  We do intend to throw some healthy options into the shop very shortly to counteract the increased pie intake.

We are currently working with a few cafes outside of Cromwell in the way of supply just to get our pies further afield, but there will only be a hand-selected few.

Any challenges in siblings working together?

I’ve been working with my brother for about 15 years now – although we have had many hammer throwing moments, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s Miro I feel sorry for, as he has to put up with me for 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, crammed within the four walls of our bakery… take my hat off to the big fella!

What of the brewery in the bakery yard?

The Sanga’s Brewery side of things we do eventually plan to get up and running.

Currently most of my beer that’s brewed gets poured into the pork belly pies – that can be slightly depressing as I do occasionally/often like to hydrate with a Sanga’s session IPA.

We were always going to open a brewery with the old man (Dunc), so to myself and Rob it is a goal to make a reality.

Anything else?

We should mention Miro, as, because it is called Sanga’s Pies a lot of people think it is just Rob and me. 

Miro, aka Miracle, I’m sure was brought to New Zealand by the Czech gods, purely to handcraft these beauties.  I’ve never seen anybody work such magic with flavours or bounce salt off an elbow like Miro can.  He’s a pure magician in the kitchen.

Finally, our team is not complete without a mention of Rachel and Aimee, our wonderful baristas in the shop.