There's nothing more evocative of farmhouse cuisine than a pie, so it's fitting that Bolsa -- the Oak Cliff locus of field-to-fork dining -- has hired a pie maker to handle its pastry menu.
Kate Nelson, owner of the 2-year-old pie catering company Piecurious, began making pies for Bolsa about two months ago. Although she will likely soon assume the official title of pastry chef, Nelson's seasonal pies will still be identified as Piecurious creations on Bolsa's ever-changing menu.
"We want everyone to know they can order a pie from us," says Nelson, who bakes out of a kitchen in Deep Ellum. "I want to make people happy."
Bolsa chef Graham Dodds recruited Nelson after his pastry chef was forced to return to Spain because of visa issues. Piecurious, he says, "showed up at the right time."
"They're doing spectacular stuff for us," he says.
Dodds and Nelson share a farm-to-table philosophy that Nelson inherited from her mother. Growing up on her family's farm, Nelson learned to pick berries, bake and churn butter. She was startled to discover how many eaters in Dallas were willing to settle for less-than-fresh food.
"I was an art handler in Dallas, and wondered where people got pies in Dallas," Nelson recalls. "It was all refrigerated and made with cherry pie filling and other things I find gross."
Nelson's spent the last two years baking for charity events and "chefs who wanted an alternative to cake," but her pies will now be featured exclusively at Bolsa.
"I want to help Graham realize his vision," Nelson says. "I really appreciate the freshness that goes on there. I'm super stoked."
Spring marks the start of pie season, and Nelson already has plans for upcoming fruit harvests. She's about to release a rhubarb buttermilk pie and is developing a lavender chamomile tea buttermilk pie, both made with buttermilk from a friend's local dairy. She's also working on dark cherry chocolate pie that she hopes will mimic the flavors of a cherry cordial.
"I tell my customers, 'order anything you want'," says Nelson, who's now gleefully puzzling out how to produce a jelly bean pie. "I'm a total chemist in the kitchen."
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