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Our Story

The Mud Journey Begins

In 2006, Christian Barrington, Mud’s Founder and Chief Pie Maker, took a bold step.  Leaving behind a promising career as a financial consultant, he decided to follow his true passion for cooking.  This first took shape as an organic café in Chichester, which quickly became a local favourite for its freshly prepared, delicious dishes. Despite the café’s success, Christian was drawn towards a new venture, one that would soon become synonymous with quality and tradition - artisan pies.

Christian (Chief Pie Maker) holding a board of pies
A Pie

From Café to Farmers’ Markets

Christian’s journey into pie-making was inspired by cherished family memories, particularly his grandmother’s signature steak and kidney pie. He wanted to recreate the wholesome, hearty pies from his childhood, but with a unique touch, using locally sourced ingredients and pastry made with butter, not margarine.

Christian began selling his pies at Chichester farmers’ market and quickly gained a loyal following. Every week there would be queues forming at his stall!  It was a hectic time and he found himself working around the clock, balancing the café during the day and pie-making at night.

Folks standing at a Mud Foods market stall
A Mud Baker dusting some pastry with flour

The Secret to Success

The key to Mud’s success lies in the meticulous care put into each pie.  In particular, Christian’s legendary buttery shortcrust pastry, praised for its crispness and flavour, a hallmark of ‘Mud Pies’, as they became known.  The pastry was, and still is, made in the way Christian’s grandmother taught him, which takes time.  He refused to use additives to bypass the process of relaxing it in the fridge, instead he would chill the pastry overnight before working it the next day, then chill it overnight again.  So it’s rested naturally, which gives it the perfect texture.

The Pie’s the Limit

As demand for his pies grew, Christian decided to close the café and focus solely on Mud. In 2009, he invested in a small industrial unit in Chichester, which allowed him to increase production.

Christian removing a tray of pies from the oven
Christian waving from a market stall

Christian began attending more local farmers’ markets, where his pies continued to sell like hot cakes! Despite the long hours and relentless pace, Christian was driven by his dedication to quality and his customers’ enthusiasm and soon moved again into bigger premises in nearby Midhurst.

A Family Affair

Christian’s wife, Toni, played a crucial role during these early years.  While studying to become a midwife, she assisted with the business whenever possible.  Their first daughter, Emelia, became a familiar sight at the farmers’ markets, and Toni jokes that Christian would never have seen Emelia in those early years if she hadn’t brought her to the markets at weekends!

Toni and Emelia at a farmers market
A young girl pretending to drive a delivery van

Then along came Toni and Christian’s second daughter, Liberty, and their family was complete.  Liberty suffers from a rare, life-limiting genetic disorder called Cardiofaciocutaneous Syndrome (or CFC) and, understandably, her illness is a big part of their lives.  So, when he’s not making pies, Christian is very much a family man – along with his wife Toni, he is devoted to his two daughters, and he spends as much time with them as he possibly can.

Mud Foods Today

In an unexpected twist, by 2024, Mud came full circle, scaling up again and returning to an even larger unit on the original site in Chichester, (back home!).

The slogan 'down to earth good food' on a sign post
Heather & Colin in white overalls

Mud now employs a dedicated team of 12, including Heather and Colin, Christian’s in-laws, who’ve been with him pretty much since day one and have done every job in the bakery at one time or another!  

Luckily, Christian no longer has to work through the night, though his passion for pie-making remains undiminished.  Mud continues to uphold its commitment to quality, using only the finest ingredients, sourced as locally as possible, including organic milk and cream from the Goodwood Estate, fresh eggs from trusted local farms and always superb cuts of meat, as only the best will do.  All encased in his legendary butter-rich shortcrust pastry.

Milk and eggs from Goodwood
Christian holding multiple pie awards and trophies

Award-Winning Excellence

Mud Foods has earned a stellar reputation for its pies and squiches (that’s a square quiche!).  It has received 145 awards, and counting, including high honours at the British Pie Awards, where Christian has won many Class Champions and numerous gold, silver and bronze medals over the years. 

Christian’s innovative Chip Shop Chicken Curry Pie also brought him fame on Channel 4’s Aldi’s Next Big Thing, presented by Anita Rani and Chris Bavin.  The show is a cross between Dragons’ Den and Bake Off, with the prize being the opportunity to sell your product on the shelves of national supermarket, Aldi.

Christian with the Channel 4 presenters of Aldi's Next Big Thing
The Chip Shop Chicken Curry Pie

Christian was up against the best of Britain’s small food producers, and went on to win the first show of the series!  It was a proud moment when his Chip Shop Chicken Curry Pie went on sale for a week in all Aldi stores across the country.

Onwards and Upwards

These days, while maintaining a strong presence at local farmers’ markets, Mud has extended its reach significantly.  The pies are now available in pubs, restaurants, farm shops, delis, and various retail outlets.  And, more recently, Mud launched an online shop, making their tasty pies accessible nationwide.  Christian’s ethos of quality and no compromise continues as a guiding principle, ensuring that every pie delivers the ultimate homely, wholesome and delicious experience.

Damien unloading the van carrying a box of Mud Pies
Sticky Pulled Pork pie cut open

The Future of Mud

Christian and his team at Mud Foods are continually innovating.  New pie varieties, such as Chicken and Spanish Chorizo Pie and Pulled Pork in Sticky BBQ Sauce, keep the offerings fresh and exciting.

Christian’s story is one of passion, perseverance, and a deep connection to his roots.  Mud Foods embodies the spirit of artisanal craftsmanship and dedication to quality.  As Christian likes to say, Mud is all about “down to earth good food” and, with each pie, he brings that philosophy to tables across the country.

Christian with an apron, standing infront of a selection of Mud Pies
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Contact us

GU29 9RE
Phone: 01730 815435
Or email us via our form



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