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: Leslie Peterson and Dan Medlen of Arcadia Farms
In this corner we have Arcadia Farms pastry chefs Leslie Peterson and Dan Medlen who have baked together since first working at Tammie Coe Cakes.
"I convinced him to move with me," Peterson laughs. She began working at Arcadia Farms in May of 2014 and Medlen followed not too long after.
Rewind a little bit and you can find both being directed by family members on what path to take.
Peterson's cousin was in the business and she wanted to follow suit. She attended the French Culinary Institute. Medlen's uncle guided him and he attended Scottsdale Community College.
"I told him I was thinking about going to culinary school because originally it was supposed to be for the hot side," Medlen said. "He told me my personality might be better at pastry. I don't even know what he meant by that."
Now, both are baking it up and preparing for the Pie Social.
"I don't think we're trying to reinvent the wheel with it," Medlen said. "We just want to make something that's tasty that people will be like, 'Damn, that was good pie,' and that's it. It doesn't need to be something out of this world or strange."
See also: Ricardo Palacio of Catrinas Bake Shop
It's 15 minutes until Pie Social and you drop a pie. What do you do? L : Depending on what we brought, make something very quickly or just cut the pieces smaller so everyone can still have some. D : I panic first, probably a couple of cuss words, and then that's it. There's one less pie. There's not much I can do on that one.
What's the single most important tool in pie making? L : Rolling pin because the dough. Pie crust is what makes your pie. D : Your hands. Can't make it without them. If I had hooks, it'd be very, very hard. Even one less hand would make it hard.
What's the most important ingredient in a pie crust? L : Butter D : Butter
What's the secret to the perfect fruit filling consistency? L : Cornstarch D : Getting it baked correctly. I can't tell you my secrets.
Hand pie, pie in a jar, or no mini pies EVER? L : Mini pies, get rid of them. Anything smaller is harder to make. Pie in a jar, that's like the best thing ever. D : Mini pie because they're a pain in the ass.
What's on your pie-making playlist? L : Umm..I don't know...maybe Cherry Bomb. You're going to judge me on my taste in music. D : I like electronic music.
What will be the next big pie trend? L : Ohh, that's a good question. They'll probably learn how to ship pies without having to freeze them. They'll come up with an ingredient that keeps them preserved for long enough to transport without refrigeration. D : Pie on a stick, I don't know. Is that even possible? Everyone likes things on sticks. Nobody better take that idea or that's going to piss me off.
You have to make 100 pies in 5 hours. Who are you gonna call for help? L : Ghost Busters! D : Leslie
How do you spend your down time while your pies are in the oven? L : Eat. Always eating. That's the downside of working in the kitchen. Someone is always making something really good. D : The correct answer is continue working, but texting...
In one word, what's your strategy for competing as a celebrity baker this year? L : Pizazz D : Dominance