Julie can’t disguise her passion for pies
MT LARCOM'S pies are one of those unspoken food highlights, and this year they got a boost.
While new owner Julie Beel refused to reveal her secret recipe, she admitted she had "tweaked" the recipe for Big Mumma's pies.
"Often I stand there at 4am thinking, 'Who would have thought I'm making pies and sausage rolls for a living?'
"Pepper pies move like crazy, kidney pies go like hot cakes." Mrs Beel even made seafood pies for the recent seafood festival, but added those were a one-off.
"I don't freeze any of the pies, we bake every second day," she said.
After five years in Gladstone, the Beel family decided to drop their gypsy status and settle down in Mt Larcom.
"My husband's a builder and he travels," she said.
"We're big believers of identity, and the kids weren't having a home town.
"Now that we're settled, I can shoot into town and have coffee with friends, I can step out and know these guys are under control."
Seven months ago they took over the Mt Larcom Café, with the family living next door.
"We've made an eating area, and we've kept the local suppliers and got a few more in," she said.
"We have the catering for the contract workers for Main Roads, so I'll be disappointed when they go, but then I can go back to concentrate on travellers' needs."
Mrs Beel said it was important for her to include a simple grocery aisle for passing travellers.
"The locals can go into Woolworths and get it cheaper for what I can sell it for but it's mainly the stuff travellers ask for like cereal or laundry detergent," she said.
The four staff - Barbara Van Der Wolf, Ainsley Thorogood, Amber Page and Brock Jones - help her in the cafe.
"I'm pretty pedantic; you've got to be proud of the place you work in, and give the right quality of food," Mrs Beel said.
"They're awesome staff that help me run the business the way I want it."