Gracie Santos is a Seattle baker taking the city by storm, and people are going crazy about her pies!
She started baking at the beginning of lockdown for family and friends as her way of staying connected with them. She also bartered with a few small businesses for different goods and services. But the more she baked and shared her pies, the more people wanted to get a slice of her delicious creations. And they started to offer her money.
As Gracie told us in our recent Instagram Live event, she was surprised that people were interested in buying her pies. "Oh, there’s money in this?" Gracie said. "Like you actually want me to make pies!"
Yes, they did!
Gracie never intended to start a business. Baking pies was just for fun. Something that she could enjoy and share with close friends. But her pies and wonderful personality led her to becoming an "accidental entrepreneur."
And today, her business, grayseas pies, is growing by leaps and bounds. She's been featured by major media, including The Seattle Times, and has already collaborated with popular chefs and food brands, such as Enroot, a specialty tea founded by Cristina Patwa (an amazing Filipina creative and entrepreneur) and Brad Pitt. Yes, THAT Brad Pitt.
Surviving Lockdown Through Baking
One of the most interesting things about Gracie (and there are many) is that she was NOT a baker before the pandemic.
Like many of us in 2020, Gracie learned how to bake as a way to get through quarantine. She has always been a foodie, but baking was a new challenge for her — especially baking pies. "I've never done this thing before," said Gracie. "Let me try it and see if I can do it and make it taste good."
She tried baking new recipes, experimented with lots of flavors, and let her curiosity guide her. "It either sucks, or it's great," Gracie told me. "And if it's great, I make more."
Bringing Joy and Sharing Culture Through Pies
Ultimately, her goal was to bake great-tasting pies that would bring joy and comfort. And she has truly delivered!
Since launching grayseas pies, Gracie has mastered classic flavors and has created new, unique flavors that reflect her culture and culinary heritage. One of her most popular pies is her Chicken Adobo Pot Pie, which fuses the traditional American pot pie with the flavors of Filipino chicken adobo.
She came up with this innovative recipe after a friend was begging her to create a savory pie. It happened to be during Filipino American History Month, and to Gracie, it was "the perfect time to do a savory pie!"
She offered it during Seattle restaurant week, and the Chicken Adobo Pot Pie was an immediate hit!
She's currently working on more Filipino-inspired pies, which will be available this spring. Personally, we can't wait to try them all!
One of the places where she'll be popping up is the Farmer's Market in South Park in Seattle. It's a special place, close to her heart, because that's where Gracie first introduced her pies to the community. It's also where she discovered the tremendous support of new customers and fellow business owners, who helped her grow her pie business into what it is today.
To learn more about Gracie and to hear her incredible founder story, which was born from a personal passion to bring others joy, be sure to check out full Instagram Live here! Also, make sure to follow Gracie at @grayseas.pies and check out her website, grayseaspies.com.