Handcrafted Perogies a Flamborough Family Affair
by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review
After officially starting as a catering business in 2013 by Michael Schmidt, Stuffed. is now a full-fledged staple of farmers’ markets and festivals in the Flamborough and Hamilton areas.
“Last year, we decided that we wanted to expand the business and we were looking for a restaurant, couldn’t find a permanent location for a retail spot so we decided to get a food truck,” said Michelle Schmidt, Stuffed.’s manager.
The food truck features a 20-foot trailer that has been fully customized to allow the team to prepare all of its products — on location.
A family affair, the business pulls from its German and Polish background creating a flavour journey ripe for creativity and tradition. Makers of handmade perogies, gourmet soups and cabbage rolls, the family — under the direction of Chef Mike — has developed a system to working in the food truck.
“He’s the mastermind behind all of the different dishes that we do,” said Schmidt, of her brother, who has enjoyed cooking from a young age. “Every time that my mom would be in the kitchen, he would be right there on a chair beside her learning different things.”
The business started out as “something to do to honour our heritage,” said Schmidt.
“Perogies are something that’s very unique,” she added. “There’s not a lot of competition for that in the area.”
At any given time the chef has 90-odd recipes brewing in his head. Stuffed. always has 12 to 15 varieties available at market events and the food truck always serves up cheddar cheese and potato.
“He’ll see something, he’ll eat a dish somewhere and he’s like, ‘Hmm, that would be really good inside a perogy. So, then he plays with the recipe and he perfects it,” she said, adding some have even evolved from dips.
A number of varieties are available to perogy enthusiasts, including horseradish-cheddar, herb and garlic feta, loaded baked potato, spinach-artichoke, and bacon-blue cheese. According to Schmidt, her brother finds flavour inspiration everywhere.
To create batches, the team runs like an assembly line — each family member has a part to play.
“When we’re in production mode, my dad scoops the filling, my brother rolls out the dough and then my mom and I pinch the perogy shell,” said Schmidt.
The team can make over 1,700 perogies in a day — and that doesn’t even include the soups and cabbage rolls.
Stuffed. can be found at the Winter Farmers’ Market, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday until March 21 at Connon Nurseries (656 Robson Road). Come May, Stuffed. will operate a booth at the Waterdown Farmers’ Market.
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Julia Lovett-Squires is a reporter and photographer with the Flamborough Review who has her finger on the artistic pulse of the community. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.