Local chef Mike Genovy has built a commercial kitchen in the basement of his home and custom-equipped it to produce handmade pierogies.
Investing about $8,000 and a lot of sweat equity in a basement kitchen that meets all public health standards isn’t something many people do.
But Genovy, 33, is confident it will pay dividends when his new business takes off.
OB1 Pierogi already produces 2,000 to 3,000 pierogies a week, sold frozen by the dozen from Genovy’s freezer or delivered regularly to six local restaurants.
At the recent Big Sister’s Show and Sale, Genovy and his wife Heather Denning sold 130 dozen pierogies in one day and couldn’t keep up with demand.
They intend to go to other trade shows and bazaars and have plans to offer their pierogies to hockey teams and schools for fundraisers.
“It’s pretty overwhelming sometimes,” said Genovy. “We didn’t know what to expect but it’s going so well that we’re thinking we may approach London restaurants in the New Year.”
He is a Red Seal chef who has worked in various high-end restaurants in Sarnia the past 18 years.
He has also taught Lambton College’s culinary management course and is currently a part-time cook at Bluewater Health.
He and his wife have two young children and were trying to come up with a way to spend more time at home when they accidently fell on the concept for OB1 Pierogi – named for Star War’s character Obi-Wan-Kenobi and Mike’s high school nickname, Ob1 Genovy.
“I’ve always made pierogies with my father every Christmas and, when he died, we kept the tradition going last year,” he said.
“I made a tableful of roasted potato, caramelized onion, cheddar and Sriracha pierogies and Heather put a photo of them on Facebook.”
Inquiries flooded in and 27 people asked for orders.
“We thought we might have something here. I’d just come off parental leave and Heather had just lost her job. It began to make a lot of sense.”
OB1 Pierogi offers 10 varieties at a cost of $10 a dozen or three dozen for $28.
The most popular are traditional potato cheddar but poutine and pizza pierogies are top sellers too. There’s also a pierogi-of-the-month, such as apple pie pierogies or pierogies stuffed with Oktoberfest sausage and braised in beer.
Genovy and Denning say they have a lot of fun coming up with new flavours and perfecting recipes.
OB1 Pierogi can be contacted by calling 519-312-7091, or via Facebook or by visiting www.ob1pierogi.com.
CUSTOM WEDDING INVITES
A Chatham-based invitation and design studio is now represented in Sarnia by Joanna Solinas.
The Paper Bride carries all paper products required for a wedding, shower or other special event including invitations, envelopes, and stationary.
“I work hand-in-hand with the designer to ensure it’s exactly what our customer wants,” said Solinas. “We do very personalized, custom work.”
Invitations range from $2 to $9 each, depending on size and materials. Visit www.thepaperbride.ca or see the product line on Facebook. Solinas can be reached at 519-330-5457 for individual consulting.
Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy Dobson at 226-932-0985 or firstname.lastname@example.org