By Justin Flynn
Corey Howard doesn’t even pause when asked if his career change has been worth it.
Ocean Grove couple Corey and wife Amanda left high-paying jobs and bought a bakery in Highton last year.
It re-opened in January as Porter Avenue Pies and Cakes and recently won three gold medals in the 2022 Australia’s Best Pie and Pastie Competition.
Daughter Maylee, 16, has also joined the business as an apprentice pastry chef and Corey’s best mate left his 30-year teaching job to be a part of what is a genuine family business.
“It was an ex-bakery and had been here 32 years and it was predominantly bread and we’ve turned it upside down, got rid of the bread and have pies and cakes and good food,” Corey said.
“Obviously in this climate we were concerned about leaving good paid jobs but we felt the area was right and had a good feeling about it.
“We sit back and it’s everything beyond what we have imagined.”
Porter Avenue won gold medals for its tuna mornay, smoked maple chicken and caramelised onion, and chilli con carne pies. It also took home eight silver and four bronze medals.
Before buying the bakery, Corey was a sales representative covering hundreds of kilometres around Victoria every week and Amanda an oncology nurse for 25 years.
Despite being in the game only a few months, feedback has been encouraging.
“We’ve had a lot of people telling us we’ve got a great product,” Corey said.
“So we thought we’ll give it (the competition) a go, get some feedback and see where it sits.
“We have been absolutely blown away with the support and response we’ve received.”
Despite the success of the gourmet pies, Corey said the plain meat pies and sausage rolls were still the favourites among his Highton regulars.