Eat to the Beat preview: Wanda Beaver slices up pie for breast cancer
Eat to the Beat, celebrating is 17th year, is in less than a week (October 16, 2012) and has gained a reputation has the event for foodies in the city to experience the talents of 60 female chefs – women supporting women for breast cancer.
Supporting Willow Breast Cancer Support Cancer and raising more than $3.2 million, over 80% of the evening’s proceeds are directed to Willow’s free programs and services.
One of the female chefs at this year’s Eat to the Beat Gala is Wanda Beaver from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky, the beloved Toronto bakery in Kensington Market. Life wasn’t always all fruit fillings and pastry crusts for Beaver. She tells me over the phone that her beginnings were more humble. “I was attending the Ontario College of Art and Design for art. I had a friend who was managing a restaurant and had tried one of my pies. They had asked if I could make them wholesale and everything kind of started from there.”
Wanda honed her natural baking skills wholesale and then created her one-of-a-kind bakery that has garnered attention from far and wide. She looked back to her childhood in Niagara (full of fruit trees, orchards and berries) for pie inspirations, creating some of her best sellers including Sour Cherry Pie, which uses whole cherries. Wanda tells me that this pie has, “converted many people to Wanda’s Pie in the Sky.”
So what makes the perfect pie? Wanda tells me that the pastry is the key and mainly 75% of what makes everything perfect. If the crust is under-mixed, the balance of the pie will be off. But beyond that, she tells me some other important ingredients for pies (other than filling): butter and cream.
With her involvement in the upcoming Eat to the Beat, Wanda tells me this is one of the charity events she loves being involved with each year. “I have been involved since the second year it started. What I like about Eat to the Beat is that has the biggest bottom line going back to the charity while supporting women chefs in this city.” Beaver is right. Over 80% of the evening’s proceeds are directed to Willow’s free programs and services. She also tells me that beyond all the female chefs supporting the charity, the event itself is a lot of fun with good music and other fashion events.
Is there anything else in store for Wanda? Besides running her Kensington Market (daily) which she loves the area and space, she is always looking at different pies to make. Example: Pear-Cranberry that she suggested I try for Thanksgiving. Check out Wanda Beaver at her store daily or at Eat to the Beat - tickets still available.
Photos by Yuli Scheidt