A truly great pie brings people together. That’s just a fact. If you’re going to make a memorable one, you have to put a little part of yourself in it and take something from what’s around you. Sure, a store-bought pie shell and canned filling can be baked, sliced, and served (and folks will feel lucky to eat it). But there’s a particular alchemy that occurs when a baker gets their hands in the mix, working the flour and fat to just the right feel and composing a filling from ingredients that taste like a particular place and time. Pies are more than just dessert: They are an exercise in evenhandedness, meant by design to be sliced and shared with loved ones. Whether they’re brought out at the end of a communal meal or presented as an excuse for an impromptu afternoon get-together, when people gather to eat and talk over pies, good things happen. For these five pie makers, that’s a perfect opportunity to use their wares to help make the world just a little sweeter.
Justice of the Pies, Chicago
When Maya-Camille Broussard was young, her father, Stephen J. Broussard, a criminal defense attorney on the West Side of Chicago, would pull her away from the TV and into the kitchen. She later realized these lessons were about more than cooking. “Baking taught me to be precise while also being patient,” says Maya-Camille. Her father was passionate about helping his clients to reform their lives, and at her shop, Justice of the Pies, which Maya-Camille started in his honor, community development and creating employment opportunities are key ingredients. “No matter where a pie is made in the world, it’s still a pie that we can all enjoy,” she says. “Similarly, no matter a person’s gender, sexual orientation, race, wealth, or disability status, they’re still a person who deserves the best that life has to offer.”