Pie Social

Jeff Kraus of Crepe Bar: 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: Jeff Kraus of Crepe Bar

In three years as a Pie Social competitor, Jeff Kraus says he has definitely learned his limits, but, more importantly, he's learned how events like this can be beneficial to both chefs and the community as a whole. For chefs like him, he says the day to experiment and mingle makes up for all the hard work he puts in the rest of the year. For the community at large, it's an opportunity for people to have a social outlet, all while getting excited about pie.

Kraus gave Chow Bella some hints about his pie-dea for this year's recipe, and, trust us, you should be getting excited. While he admits it will be less of the "science-based, whimsical, and modern" cooking methods he's known for, it will be simple and still very interactive. We can't wait.

See also: Julie Moreno of Jewel's Bakery & Cafe: Pie Social Celebrity Bakers 2014

It's 15 minutes until Pie Social and you drop a pie: What do you do? Throw a fit, kick a can, and throw my hands in the air for about 30 seconds. Then I move on.

What's the single most important tool in pie making? Probably my notebook, since my brain is always running in so many directions.

What's the most important ingredient in a pie crust? Technique -- knowing what all of the products and components do.

What's the secret to the perfect fruit filling consistency? Science. You have to know your fruits, count the carbs, and bring the heat. Knowing how much pectin is in the fruit you're using helps.

Hand pie, pie in a jar, or no mini pies EVER? Yes to hand pies, no to pie in a jar, and mini pies all day. I love mini things.

What's on your pie-making playlist? Funk. Rap. I am constantly channel-surfing through every genre.

What will be the next big pie trend? 100 percent locally made from the dairy to the grain.

You have to make 100 pies in five hours. Who you gonna call for help? LaDawn Driscoll, Tracy Dempsey, Rachel Miller, Pascal Dinot, the EVIT culinary students, and, of course, my crew.

How do you spend your down time while your pies are in the oven? Mapping out another drink or having a cocktail.

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

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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