Pie Social

Dana Stern of Bragg's Factory Diner: Pie Social Celebrity Bakers 2014

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: Dana Stern of Bragg's Factory Diner

Don't get hung up on the vegan thing. Dana Stern says her vegan pies have been fooling co-workers and friends since before she was a professional baker and part-owner of Bragg's Factory Diner in downtown Phoenix. The added challenge of not using animal products keeps baking exciting for Stern, otherwise it's just "too easy," she says. Plus, she explains that the addition of healthy ingredients like flax seed means you can eat more pie because it's actually good for you -- right?

See also: LaDawn Driscoll of Liberty Market: Pie Social Celebrity Bakers 2014

Well, even if that isn't the case, Stern says she learned a lot competing last year and has a firm plan of attack for this year. Between now and then, she plans on making her chosen recipe as many times as possible to prepare. Although she doesn't necessarily need to win to enjoy herself, she admits a Pie Social 2014 win would be great, especially to spread the word for the restaurant's well-received Go Fund Me campaign.

It's 15 minutes until Pie Social and you drop a pie: What do you do? Grab one of the extra ones that I made. I'm coming prepared this year.

What's the single most important tool in pie making? Imagination and creativity.

What's the most important ingredient in a pie crust? That's a secret, but I can tell you part of it: ice water and apple cider vinegar.

What's the secret to the perfect fruit filling consistency? If I knew that, I'd teach everyone here the secret. Probably trial and error-- and patience.

Hand pie, pie in a jar, or no mini pies EVER? Mini pies. We like things either way too big or too small here.

What's on your pie-making playlist? Screaming Jay Hawkins, '60s French pop, and glam.

What will be the next big pie trend? Hand pies.

You have to make 100 pies in 5 hours. Who you gonna call for help? I would call Liam (Murtagh) and Emily (Spetrino-Murtagh). That's why we're partners.

How do you spend your down time while your pies are in the oven? Making everything else. When pies are in the oven, it means I have time to make another variety of pie. That, and watch an episode of Real Housewives.

In one word, what's your strategy for competing as a celebrity baker this year? Fun.

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Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch