Kristopher Bergen of Jobot Coffee and Diner on Peanut Butter and Jelly and Grandma
illustration by Melissa Hoffman
Forks up, Phoenix! Chow Bella and Roosevelt Row present the seventh annual Pie Social at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 19, at the Bioscience High School at 512 East Pierce Street. We've got an all-star lineup of bakers making pies for you to taste, and from now till Pie Social, we'll introduce them to you, one by one.
Today, Kristopher Bergen of Jobot Coffee and Diner
Bergen's grandmother Maria has had many health problems, and he says the worst of it is the arthritis in her knees and hands that has kept her out of the kitchen. He thought a few cooking classes would be good so he could at least help her and revive his most favorite childhood memories. It has turned into something greater, a career he considers a noble profession.
What is the first dish you remember fixing yourself at home?
First dish I remember making as a kid is like most kids: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, heavy on the jelly, of course. I did everything from making it double layer like a Big Mac, rolling bread balls with the jelly inside, and toasting and grilling the outside.
What is the one thing you always had in your kitchen growing up?
A rolling pin and big bowls were staples in my family's kitchen. I come from a Native American family who pride themselves on bread making: from simple fry bread, Grandma Maria's big signature tortillas, knee bread, blue corn bread, and yeast bread.
What are five essentials in your home kitchen today?
I use a lot of dry pasta and rice, and build them with random sauces and veggies. I can't live without my knives, small mixing bowls for sauces, guacamole, and eggs, and a big strainer to clean vegetables as an absolute for my fifth item.
What is a memorable dish from your childhood and the back story?
Most people may think this is crazy, but Thanksgiving in my very reservation-minded family was a very big deal. My family would divide up all the tasks among the favorites of my grandparents. My aunt Shannon made the best tortillas, and fast (it takes her 30 minutes to bust out two dozen tortillas, impressive to this day). Grandma's stuffing and turkey would make any rival bite their tongue for a day so they can enjoy themselves. Her secret, like most great chefs, is butter. The men brought the bounty of the season and set up tables. All this only mattered because of my grandma; she's the chef of the family, growing her own produce and owning her own cattle and chicken.
The 2016 Pie Social Celebrity Bakers so far:
Adam Allison of SuperFarm
Soraya Medina of Heavenly Bites
Nicholas Hyche of Hilton Phoenix Chandler
Adriana Gomez of Lola Coffee
Sarah Chisholm of Phoenix Public Market Cafe
Cheryl Standage of PIEfection
Chelsea Gabayan of Fabulous Food
Holly Heizenrader of MacAlpine’s
Virginia Senior of Urban Beans
Mandy Bublitz of Pane Bianco
Omei Eaglerider of Fry’s Cooking School
Casey Hopkins of Welcome Diner
Garrett Verhage of Grassroots Kitchen & Tap
Jennifer Tom and Corrie Sharp of Bubby Goober’s
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