Pie in the Sky Bakery, Tumut


Derived from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘quiet resting place by the river’, Tumut is a charming base for enjoying the natural wonders, outdoor adventures and delicious produce of the NSW Snowy Mountains.

The history of Pie in the Sky Bakery

Ten years ago, sisters Jane Dean and Maureen Cook took the plunge and decided to go into business together, giving birth to Tumut’s Pie in the Sky Bakery. “It was just a fresh, new venture. I had worked in various small businesses before, but I had also been raising my three kids and Maureen had been working in aged care,” said Jane.

Tasked with picking a name for their new business, the sisters decided on Pie in the Sky, due in part to the gentle teasing from their brother about their ‘pie in the sky ideas’.

The sisters bake their pies on site each day, with fillings such as steak and bacon, and the very old-school steak and kidney. Sandwiches are made fresh to your liking, cold drinks that go down like a treat and a wide variety of cakes and slices available.

How has the last 12 months affected the business?

At the start of the year, the region felt the brunt of the Dunns Road fire. Burning over an immense 180,000 hectares, the fire had surrounded the town of Batlow and was launching ember attacks on nearby Adelong and Tumut. To make matters worse, the neighbouring towns were described as ‘not defendable’ by the Rural Fire Service. Power was out across the area and mobile phone reception was mostly down. It was during this period that the sisters used their shop to provide more than 700 sandwiches a day for the firefighters.

Straight after one crisis rocked the region, now another rocks the whole world, COVID-19 – double blows from which many businesses may struggle to recover. Tumut’s Pie in the Sky Bakery has survived COVID-19 relatively unscathed, even as the lower end of Wynyard Street turned into a ghost town for several weeks. Although the bakery has lost wintertime catering for local sports, and had to close ‘Born and Bread’ store lower in the street, Maureen said Pie in the Sky has stayed busy.

“Initially we did restrict our hours and we didn’t open for a number of weekends.” she said.

“We qualified for Jobkeeper, which has helped us enormously. We’re not sure how we would have survived if we didn’t receive this payment, we provide an essential service so we’ll do anything we can to keep our doors opened.”

Despite not being able to run table service for a time, Pie in the Sky still offered takeaway coffee and meals, but Maureen said she’s seen more of her regulars returning since the dine-in option was approved. Winter is typically Pie in the Sky’s busiest season and Maureen said they have seen some loss in trade, especially around Tumut’s typically-hectic Easter weekend.

How are things today?

While Tumut wasn’t directly hit by bushfires, tourist visitation numbers in the region have certainly been affected. Many of the small businesses in the area are family-owned, and with the bushfires decimating the summer business in NSW, it has left business owners waiting for winter to make up ground, but that isn’t how it’s turned out.

“Lack of tourism means lack of business,” says Jane.

“It means reducing staff hours and shop opening times, it’s so sad as small business is the life blood of our rural community.”

How you can help

The region has faced some unimaginable scenes, but despite this it plans to come back stronger than ever before. The sisters are keen to welcome visitors back to the valley that has it all: picturesque views, endless places to explore and local beers, ciders and wines to savour.

The Snowy Valleys region holds a special place in the hearts of rural NSW residents and beyond, where beauty is found in every season and in every town. However, the sisters believe that their charming town of Tumut is overlooked by other destinations.

“We’re not on a major highway and people often say we saw the sign but kept going,” says Maureen. “When people do turn off and come to Tumut they are surprised by the beauty of our town.”

The sisters are encouraging people to visit places they haven’t been before.

“Go on a road trip and see the beauty that we have in this wonderful country, in particular the Snowy Mountains.” “The injection of the tourist dollar is so important to our economy. We need tourists to keep our smaller towns going.”

Why do road trips matter to your business?

Has your business been impacted by extreme weather or lack of tourism?