Forks up, Phoenix! Chow Bella and Roosevelt Row present the fifth annual Pie Social from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, November 15, at the "What Should Go Here" Pop Up Park at Second and Roosevelt streets. 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 through a quick Pie.Q. quiz to test their baking prowess.
Today: Virginia Senior of Urban Beans
In 2009, Virginia Senior added founder and executive pastry chef to her title when she opened Urban Beans in the middle of the last downturn of the economy.
"Places were closing left and right, so it seemed like a good idea to open something," Senior says. "In five years, we have really seen the neighborhood grow and people have told me it has been an anchor for it."
As a founder, she took her self-taught baking skills and started experimenting in the kitchen. But, she doesn't take all the credit.
"I've known a lot of great cooks, chefs, bakers and they all influence me. I learn from everyone I meet."
Baking isn't the only career Senior is juggling.
"When I need downtime from baking, I'm doing architecture," Senior says. "When I need downtime from architecture, I'm baking. It kind of works as a balance. It helps to ground me in both worlds."
This year, Senior plans on building the community a pie that'll "surprise and delight."
It's 15 minutes until Pie Social and you drop a pie. What do you do? I cut my other pies smaller.
What's the single most important tool in pie making? Your hands because you have to feel the dough to know when it's ready to roll out. Pie making, for me, is very tactual.
What's the most important ingredient in a pie crust? Well, in my crust recipe, you can't take anything away from it and you can't add anything to it.
What's the secret to the perfect fruit filling consistency? I can't give all my secrets away.
Hand pie, pie in a jar, or no mini pies EVER? Pie in a jar. It's too hard to make. It's too hard to eat. It's not a pie. It's just a jar with things in it. There's no such thing as a glass crust.
What's on your pie-making playlist? Could be some Led Zeppelin, could be some Talking Heads, could be some Mozart
What will be the next big pie trend? I think cream pies are coming back but lighter.
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You have to make 100 pies in 5 hours. Who are you gonna call for help? Wow. I would call Nathaniel Burns because he would know what to do. He's my business partner.
How do you spend your down time while your pies are in the oven? Making more pies
In one word, what's your strategy for competing as a celebrity baker this year? Gratitude