There’s a lot of good will baked into Maya-Camille Broussard’s sweet and savory pies, quiches and tarts, and we’re not just talking buttery goodness. As a steward for fairness and equality, the goal of her Chicago bakery, Justice of the Pies, is to support those who need it most.
“We consider Justice of the Pies to be a social mission in a culinary art form,” she said. “Our goal is to positively impact the lives of others.”
That means, along with classic chicken pot pie, Shepherd’s pot pie, caramel apple and bourbon pecan, there’s a hefty dose of justice intertwined with every ingredient.
Social activism has been a part of Broussard’s life since childhood. Her father, Stephen Broussard, was a criminal defense attorney committed to advocating for marginalized communities. He also had an affinity for pies and quiches, so much so that he called himself “The Pie Master.” After he passed away in 2009, Broussard, a self-taught baker, opened Justice of the Pies in tribute to her father’s memory.
“We honor his belief that people deserve second chances,” she said. “In court, he strived for justice and the under-represented people he felt deserved a fair fight. His intentionality and unique pie varieties are our offerings.”
Case in point: Bleu cheese praline pear, salted caramel peach and lavender blueberry capture the flavor of the man. But her commitment to great pie is just part of her passion, which has been in overdrive since the pandemic began.
When COVID-19 hit, Broussard shifted her business to feed frontline workers, primarily on the city’s south and west side. These communities have higher food insecurity and a lack of access to healthy foods, making them more vulnerable, she said. With the support of organizations such as Frontline Foods, Broussard created and delivered more than 3,000 meals.
To stay connected to the Greater Chicago community, she also launched virtual cooking classes. “The pandemic kept us from farmers’ markets and the Chicago riverfront, so we launched virtual cooking classes to stay connected to others,” she said. “There’s no community without its people.”
Subscribers to her online cooking workshops receive a weekly list of ingredients for an entrée, dessert and cocktail, as well as step-by-step video tutorials. Broussard said it’s been a great way to create a sense of community during a time when people are being urged to remain socially distant.
And there’s more. Her latest initiative is working with doctors to send Black and Brown people to sites with COVID vaccines available. Said Broussand: “Black and Brown Chicago residents are being vaccinated at a drastically lower rate than others, but are most affected by this pandemic.”
All of this is made more remarkable by the fact that Broussard is hearing impaired and mostly reads lips to communicate. That means her online videos have closed captioning for those who are also hearing impaired. Sensitivity to all around her is clearly a trait she inherited from her father.
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