Interview with Briana Carson, Owner Crave Pie Studio : A Foodpreneur Interview

Did your mom bake pies when you were little? My mom baked cupcakes and cakes and cookies but never pies. Perhaps that’s why the very thought of making a pie crust from scratch is intimidating and a mystery to me.

When Briana Carson invited the Atlanta Food & Lifestyle Bloggers’ Society (I’m a member and current president) to a special, members only pie baking and pie tasting event at her shop, Crave Pie Studio I was so in!

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Crave Pie Studio. The pie baking class and pie tasting samples were complementary, however all opinions are those of the author.

Walking into the Crave Pie Studio is a little like turning the clock back and stepping into a kinder, gentler time when being nice was important. My initial reaction would soon be validated by  Briana’s warm hospitality and her joy in making us feel at home. In fact, the concepts are purposely integrated into the company culture.

Crave Pie Studio - Store Front

Crave Pie Studio – Main Street Duluth, GA

Before the pie making class began we were treated to our choice of a savory pie to snack on. I was delighted to see there was chicken pot pie on the menu. Let me tell you, I am still dreaming of that divalicious chicken pot pie!

Crave Pie Studio Chicken Pot Pie

Crave Pie Studio Chicken Pot Pie

We put on our aprons (my chef’s apron was a gift from my friend Chef M), washed our hands and settled into learning about how to make pies. Briana even told us about different rolling pins and an easy way to cut butter and apples for our pies.

Briana Carson, Crave Pie Studio Owner and PiEvangelist, talks about the best rollin pins for 🥧 making to food bloggers from Atlanta Food & Lifestyle Bloggers' Society

Posted by Diva Foodies on Friday, March 30, 2018

 

As we were rolling our pie dough Briana casually mentioned that if her pie bakers were upset or in a bad mood they were not allowed to make the ever important pie crust. As Briana explained if you’re not at your best it’s easy to unintentionally take it out on the dough resulting in a crust that is not as flaky or delicious. Briana was the perfect teacher – demonstrating each step and patiently assuring us that all we did was wonderful.

If you’ve ever cooked with friends you know what usually happens… sharing stories, laughter and lots of smiles. That’s exactly what Rochelle / Culinary Veg Out, Cassandra /The Chef in Pearls, Briana and I /Diva Foodies experienced. It was a special baking “girl friends” time that put the event over the top for all of us.

Crave Pie Studio Mini Pies

Crave Pie Studio Mini Pies

Pies take time to bake and Briana had lots of mini pies for us to taste as waited. There were pecan, bourbon pecan, chess, lemon custard, raspberry and apple crisp pies to nibble on.

The lemon custard was like spring in a bite. The pecan bourbon had just the right whisky. But Briana had another surprise… she poured glasses of Prosecco and we toasted to friendship and food made with love!

My pie baking and tasting experience was a success. I discovered with a little patience I could make a pie crust but if I don’t have the time I know Crave Pie Studio and Briana will be waiting to help me out.

Crave Pie Studio - Toby's Divalicious Pie

Crave Pie Studio – Toby’s Divalicious Pie

Interview With PiEvangelist Briana Carson

Crave Pie Studio - Breana Carson Baking Pies

Crave Pie Studio – PiEvangelist Briana Carson Baking Pies

PiEvangelist  Briana’s story is inspirational and I wanted to tell you more of the behind the scenes of her how and why. Briana kindly agreed to share her experiences and future plans in this interview. Hope you enjoy reading  – over a piece of pie!

Diva Foodies: Your story as a pie baker is an inspiration especially for people who want to start “encore careers.”  Let’s begin our conversation by explaining how you developed a passion for pie baking.

 Briana Carson, Crave Pie Studio: I came to be a pie baker quite late in life.  I did not learn how to bake at my grandmothers side, nor did I inherit family heirloom recipes.  Actually, I never even liked baking or sweets until I fell in love with pie a few years ago.

In 2010 I was laid off from a 20 year career with a global telecommunications company. As a woman of faith, I prayed to God for work that would be meaningful and a blessing to others, but I really had no idea what it would be. I never would have imagined it would be as a pie baker!

Since I had a lifelong love of food and cooking, I decided culinary school would be a fun place to hang out and learn while figuring out what to do with the next chapter of my life. While taking Baking 101, I began practicing how to make a traditional apple pie for the final exam. It was during that time that I became enchanted with pie.

Diva Foodies: You might have chosen to bake pies just as a hobby for lucky family and friends. People start businesses for many different motives but we’ve found that food makers often have their own special reasons. Why did you launch Crave Pie Studio?

Briana Carson, Crave Pie Studio: After leaving school, I practiced the craft of pie baking for several months while perfecting my core recipes. I baked for family, friends and neighbors before deciding to try selling at craft fairs and a farmers market. When I got such a positive reaction from customers, I decided to take the plunge and turn it into a business.

 

Crave Pie Studio - Strawberry

Crave Pie Studio – Strawberry Chocolate Cream Pie 

Diva Foodies: For many foodprenerurs or food makers their sales and promotional channels are often local fairs, farmer’s markets and perhaps an eCommerce website. Why did you want to take on the expense and responsibility of a retail shop?

Briana Carson, Crave Pie Studio: When I started the business, there were no cottage food laws in Georgia, so I had to rent expensive commercial kitchen space in order to sell legally. At the time, it made sense to invest in my own space in order to establish a retail presence. Since there were no pie shops in the area, there was a niche in the market that I could fill.

I was very blessed to find a charming space in an historic building on Main Street in the up and coming Downtown Duluth neighborhood. It just seemed like a natural fit for a nostalgic concept pie shop. There’s a small town, yet creative urban vibe and the community has been so supportive of all of the small businesses there.

Diva Foodies: Although not a far drive, I had never been to Downtown Duluth and was charmed by the renovation and your shop which really does fit into the small town nostalgic theme. Chef Emily Ellyn would definately call Crave Pie Studio – Retro Rad!

I was excited when you invited the Atlanta Food & Lifestyle Bloggers’ Society for a special pie baking (and tasting!) session. But I admit, never having made a pie before I was a little apprehensive about making my own pie crust. Would let us in on the baker’s the secrets for a flaky pie crust?

Crave Pie Studio - Southwest Veggie Quiche

Crave Pie Studio – Southwest Veggie Quiche

Briana Carson, Crave Pie StudioMy tips for a great homemade pie crust

1) be precise in your ingredient measurements

2) work with very cold ingredients

3) work quickly

4) be fearless…it’s just pie dough!

Like any skill, the more you practice, the better you will become.

Diva Foodies: What are the most popular flavors at the Crave Pie Studio? What is Your favorite pie and why?

Briana Carson, Crave Pie Studio: Our most popular flavors are Chocolate Chess, which is like a gooey undercooked brownie, and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan, which is made with Belgian chocolate and an ample shot of Kentucky bourbon. I personally love fruit pies. My all time favorite is Strawberry Rhubarb…unless it’s autumn, then my favorite is Cranberry Apple Pear with Walnut Streusel.

Diva Foodies: Ah – now I know why I loved the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan so much! I even ate it frozen… so good! Really.

Diva Foodies: For many people food is love. What does that mean to you?

Crave Pie Studio - Filled With Love

Crave Pie Studio – Filled With Love

Briana Carson, Crave Pie Studio: To me, preparing food for someone is literally an expression of love.  From the care that goes into selecting ingredients, to the attention that is put into the preparation, there is a transfer of personal energy and feeling that goes into the food that creates a kind of intimacy with the diner.

I think love is the ingredient that makes a dish memorable.

Diva Foodies: As you well know, competition in the food product world is fierce. What makes your products extra, extra special?

Briana Carson, Crave Pie Studio: We offer mini personal size pies that are baked entirely from scratch using only the finest seasonally available ingredients.  Our menu changes daily and is inspired by the creativity of our bakers. Full size pies and little 3″ pies by the dozen are available by custom order so the pies you crave are always fresh.

Diva Foodies: What one tip would you give to a person who wants to go down the path of being a food maker? Why is this tip important to you?

Briana Carson, Crave Pie Studio: Go for it!

This is possibly the best time in history to become a food maker. There is such an appreciation and demand for local, artisan crafted foods.

There are so many different ways to sell, from e-commerce, craft festivals, pop up markets and even shelf space in large retailers that is dedicated to small independent makers.

Diva Foodies: As is often Diva Foodies’ tradition, I’ll toss the last bite (or word) to you. Wrap it up anyway you’d like.

Briana Carson, Crave Pie Studio: Pie doesn’t have to be just an annual holiday dessert because every season brings new flavor options. I want people to enjoy pie, whether dessert or savory, throughout the year.

Crave Pie Studio's Retro Rad

Crave Pie Studio Retro Rad HapPie Camper 

In order to serve pie to a wider audience I am excited to announce that Crave Pie Studio will soon offer pie catering for weddings, corporate events and private parties in a renovated vintage camper trailer, which I have named the HapPie Camper.  Crave Pie Studio will be serving up pies and retro vibes throughout the Metro area, later this spring. You can follow along as we make progress at @happiecamperatl or at cravepie.com.

Connect With Briana Crave Pie Studio Online

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Visit at the Crave Pie Studio Shop

Address: 3107 B Main Street, Duluth, GA 30096

Phone: 678.485.7198

 

Author: Toby Bloomberg

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