Laura Bratkowski is a Pittsburgh-based pastry chef who, until recently, had never heard of Repair the World. But last spring, the executive chef at Spoon (the restaurant where Bratowski works) was featured at one of Repair the World’s Chef Series dinners. Excited by what she saw, Bratowski offered to raise money for Repair the World by doing what she does best: baking.
This Thanksgiving, Bratkowski – who trained at the French Culinary Institute and previously worked for Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City – will prepare hundreds of pies to grace local Pittsburgh residents’ holiday tables. All of the proceeds from sales will go to Repair the World’s work. Bratkowski took a few minutes in between planning the pie sale (not to mention working full time as a pastry chef) to share what inspired her to support Repair the World’s work. Check it out and order your pies here!
This sounds like such a lovely project – how did it come about?
I first heard about Repair the World when the executive chef at my restaurant was featured at a dinner event they did in Pittsburgh. I went in expecting some fancy china and champagne dinner, but that wasn’t what I saw. Everything was served buffet style, and people had showed up to hear someone speak about food waste. It was very real, and it was clear that people were there for the right reasons – it inspired me.
In my line of work as a pastry chef, we work crazy hours and you don’t often hear a lot about people giving back to their community. I wanted to do something to help support Repair the World’s work. So I called them up and said, “Count me in for a Thanksgiving pie sale.”
What types of pies are you making?
We are selling all the classics – pumpkin, pecan, and apple. And one of my very good friends at Gluuteny has offered to make gluten free and dairy free versions of the pies. Our goal is to sell 300 pies in total. Spoon graciously offered to let me run the whole operation out of their kitchen, and I’m working with local grocers and 412 Food Rescue to get some donated ingredients.
How can people help out?
We have volunteers coming in along the process – anybody who wants to take part is more than welcome. If they want to come bake, great! If they want to help get the pies packaged and ready for pickup, wonderful. If they just want to purchase and eat pies, that works too!
Do you have a personal connection to Jewish tradition?
No, I was raised Catholic. But to me it doesn’t matter – Jewish, Catholic, whatever – as long as your heart is in the right place. Honestly, I just fell in love with the people at Repair the World. There is nothing fake about them – they are genuine and they deserve somebody to recognize the good that they do.
How can people order pies?
Repair the World set up an order form, so people can choose what they want. The cutoff day to order is November 17, and then we start baking on the 19th. Pie pickup will be on November 22 at Repair the World’s Pittsburgh location.