Timothy Pink is a kindly British pie man. His family has been selling pies in the UK since 1880, but recently Timothy has relocated to Berlin in an attempt to enter a more international market. He wears a grey argyle sweater, black apron, and beaming smile. We caught up with Timothy one Saturday afternoon at the Markthalle Neun, where he attempts to teach Berliners about the magic of savory pies.
"People here don't know what a pie is. They walk past the pie warmer, and then you catch up with them and you go, 'What is it you've just seen?' They say, 'Uh, I don't know, quiche?or something else. And you go, 'Come back and I'll explain it to you.' So they buy one. And they come back all excited, and they go, 'Wow! It's really good, isn't it?' And you go, 'Yeah!'" And I tell them, the first bite is pastry, the second bite is heaven."
The pies are about three inches in diameter. Their crust is firm but flaky once broken. And inside there’s any mixture of meats, cheeses and spinach. They are served warm and with a huge grin from Timothy. Pink’s family has been in the food business since 1880. All of their products are made with natural ingredients, and are ethically sourced. Timothy loves working here because the history and values of the hall aligns with the values of his family’s business.
"The history of this place is that in 1891 it was a flourishing market – it had little vendors little stall holders, little people. But then with the advent of the super markets, they gradually declined."
Timothy explained that while the market had fallen into decline for a number of years, it was sold to its current owners in 2011 under the pretense that they return it to a proper market hall. Inside there are dozens of food stands, selling everything from craft beer to Nepalese cuisine. Pink has tasted from it all.
"This is an Iranian pasta place. Here, this is regional meat. I buy my ham from this guy. The flower guy has been here for ages, there’s a bread place there."
For Mr. Pink, being a part of the Marktehalle isn’t simply about turning a profit. It’s about contributing to Berlin’s diverse, international community.
"Unless you are a famous person or a famous singer, you don’t change the world, ok? But in our own way we change the world. We touch people in a little way. This is me touching Berlin. My job is to entertain people and give them a good experience – and if they buy some of my products along the way that’s great – but more importantly, it’s to give them what they want and for them to trust you that you’re guiding them in the right direction. It is within my DNA. It is called customer service. That’s what we do!"
You can find Timothy selling pies, wine and marmalade everyday of the week at the Markthalle Neun in Berlin.