A Brief Explanation of Chicken Pot Pies for British People


Followers of the blog know that I’ve recently started a new job at a fancy restaurant on the tourist-y side of Orlando.

Many of our guests are from all over the world, especially the UK and Brazil.  While customer service encounters with Brazilians could be an entire blog in and of themselves, today I want to address an issue that I’ve noticed with the British.

Last week, I overheard a friend telling a British family:  “The vegetables are inside the chicken pot pie.”  It was the only sentence that I picked out over the cacophony of the entire restaurant and it was so random that I laughed about it and shared it with some friends, who also chuckled.

Then, it happened to me.  I dropped off a chicken pot pie to a British couple and was asked:  “Weren’t there supposed to be some vegetables and mash with this?”  I politely explained:  “The vegetables and potatoes are inside the chicken pot pie.”

Now I can’t be bothered to Google the history and origins of the Chicken Pot Pie.  I can only assume that it must be an American invention.  Working with that assumption, I will try and define this dish for those unfamiliar with it:

A flaky pie crust is filled with a creamy mixture of carrots, peas, chopped potatoes, and chicken.  It’s completely sealed with more crust on top and then baked together.  It’s a pretty magical little thing the way that we serve it at my restaurant, but housewives also like to freestyle with it in more casserole-like variations.

The problem with Chicken Pot Pie Unfamiliarity is that the above stated location of the vegetables and potatoes is impossible to say without coming across at least a little bit condescending.  I know that my friend came across that way, and I did too (hopefully just minimally though).  Neither of us were trying to be snooty, it’s just an impossible sentence to say without that tone.

Obviously I don’t expect people from all over the world to memorize the construction of American dishes.  If they don’t have Chicken Pot Pie where you’re from, I’m not judging you or looking down on you for having some questions.

I mostly just wanted to apologize to anyone who felt belittled by the sentence:  “The vegetables are inside the Chicken Pot Pie.”



5 thoughts on “A Brief Explanation of Chicken Pot Pies for British People

    • I know! It’s a very simple dish, but I suppose it hasn’t caught on globally. America can be ambivalent about its “melting pot” roots in a lot of ways, but cuisine certainly isn’t one of them! The huge variety of foods from all over the world that are available to Americans makes it easy to forget that not everywhere is like that.

      Shepherd’s pie is pretty easy to find over here. Were there any spots where you could enjoy American food back home in Ireland? What about different cuisines in Latvia?

      • It’s getting better here – quite a mix of international restaurants, but still no Greek one! As for American food in Ireland, I guess we have lots of diner-style burger joints if that counts! And TGI Fridays is everywhere 😉

  1. underwaterraven

    Well, here in England I don’t think I’ve ever seen “chicken pot pie” on a menu. It sounds a lot like what we call a Cornish Pasty. To be honest the only reason I’d assume that the vegetables and mash were separate from the pie is if it explicitly stated so on the menu. I think I’d like a chicken pot pie, since I love cornish pastys…

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