The Piehole Project is a local nonprofit that raises scholarship money for culinary students. It recruits local chefs to bake extravagant pies, which are then auctioned through an online platform.
Bidding on the pies started Oct. 17 and will end at 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27. So you have a day or so to clean out your change bowl to place your own bid. Perusing the pies and current bids is quite dreamy.
The leading bid right now is for a corn cream custard pie with blackberry and plantain miso caramel by chef Junior Borges of Meridian. The bid early Wednesday was $620.
The second highest bid is $220 for chef John Tesar’s Passmore Caviar pie made with 6 ounces of sturgeon caviar, minced shallots, chopped egg and creme fraiche in a flaky pie crust.
If the boss would let us expense it, we’d get chef Keith Cedotal’s pie, which is a croissant crust with a brown butter chocolate custard, topped with a chili pecan praline and whipped creme fraiche. It’s only at $115.
Or chef Sharon Van Meter’s Balcones Baller Deep Dish Pecan Pie, at $200 at the time of writing.
The fundraiser is run by Alison Matis and Cheryl Weis of FestEvents Foundation. In an effort to support the food and beverage industry, Matis and Weis founded Piehole Project in 2020 as an extension of their nonprofit organization FestEvents Foundation. The organization provides scholarships and professional development resources to young people pursuing a career in the food and hospitality industry.
One of those scholarships, the Chefs of Tomorrow Culinary & Hospitality Scholarship, is given to multiple students pursuing an education in a food-related field, whether at culinary school, trade school or college. Funds raised at the Piehole Project will go directly into the pot for this scholarship.
While some chefs at the event bake and sell pies daily, such as Sean Jett of Humble: Simple Good Pies, others, among them Nikky Phinyawatana of Asian Mint, Susan Lor of TJ’s Seafood Market and Jeffery Hobbs of Slow Bone, are dipping into new territory for the cause.
Meet all of the chefs and their pies on the 2022 pie page.
Even if you’re not into pies, you can still donate money toward the scholarship fund. Matis and Weis hope to raise $40,000 for the cause.