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Chatting with ... Maya-Camille Broussard ’04 MA

Owner of the Chicago-based bakery Justice of the Pies and star of Netflix’s Bake Squad, Broussard talks inspiration, accessibility and her fave pie flavors.

Maya-Camille Broussard smiles at the camera while holding a strawberry basil key lime pie topped with fresh strawberries, on a serving tray. She wears a black and white polka-dotted dress and stands in front of a white and black polka-dotted wall.
Maya Camille-BroussardImage: Dan Goldberg

By Diana Babineau
Spring 2024

What do you love about being one of the four bakers on Bake Squad? 

I love that it’s a friendly competition. We don’t win anything. There’s no money involved. However, we definitely compete for bragging rights! Each of us is tasked with baking a beautifully designed dessert for a special event, such as a birthday or theme wedding, and then the guest client chooses their favorite dessert. The joy that we get from “winning” comes from seeing the client be absolutely amazed with what we’ve created for them — that’s the value for us. 

You founded Justice of the Pies in honor of your father. Did you grow up baking together? 

It wasn’t until after my father [criminal defense attorney Stephen J. Broussard ’70, ’73 JD] passed away in 2009 and my cousin wanted to start a foundation in his memory that I began baking pies. My father was obsessed with baking pies. But I never really baked with him; rather, it was his sister, my Aunt Sandy, who had the patience to bake cakes and cookies with me. My dad loved to hoard his recipes, and he would not share them with me, probably because he wanted me to come up with my own!  

Social justice is baked into the name of your business. What issues are important to you? 

I am an advocate for people living with disabilities because I am living with an invisible disability and I understand how it feels to not be accommodated. So when I was thinking about the brick-and-mortar store for Justice of the Pies, I made sure the space was accessible.  

You’ll see that we have a wheelchair ramp, Braille on all our signage, and each tile on the floor designates the kind of room you’re in. For example, if you’re in the retail area, there is penny tile there, but if you go into the demo kitchen area, there are big slate tiles. The bathroom has smaller tiles, so when someone is walking with a cane, they can determine the space they are in simply from the changes in the floor texture. The countertops are accessible in height, and we also have seating for children and little people. So those are the primary ways that we provide justice for those living with disabilities.  

A lot of my work also surrounds fighting food insecurity. That includes providing culinary workshops for children who reside in lower-income communities that are affected by food apartheid. The goal is to help children become more self-sufficient in the kitchen.  

How have you used your Northwestern degree?  

I received my undergraduate degree in theater from Howard University and my master of arts in theater from Northwestern, and those liberal arts degrees are important to my career because I am essentially a storyteller. Telling my story creatively through food is why I started this brand. People don’t always buy what you make — they buy why you make it.  

One of my favorite professors at Northwestern was Rives Collins; he taught a storytelling class, where I learned about the nuances that come into play when you are sharing or creating a story. So when I’m crafting a new recipe in the kitchen, I’m always thinking, “How can I tell a story on a plate?” And I owe a lot of that approach to professor Collins.  

“Telling my story creatively through food is why I started this brand. People don’t always buy what you make — they buy why you make it.”

You published a cookbook! What stands out to you about it? 

Justice of the Pies: Sweet and Savory Pies, Quiches and Tarts + Inspirational Stories From Exceptional People features people whom I consider to be stewards for equality and justice. I’ve included profiles of them and their heartwarming, uplifting stories, as well as recipes I created inspired by the work they do. My ginger, carrot and asparagus quiche, for example, is inspired by Lauren Bush Lauren, co-founder of FEED, an organization that fights to end childhood hunger.  

What recipes would you point readers to right away? 

The strawberry basil key lime pie and the deep-dish chilaquiles quiche. The key lime pie is one of my most creative flavor combinations. And the quiche is one of my favorites to eat, because I love the flavor of corn tortillas mixed with my quiche custard and, of course, the savory black beans and homemade salsa.   

Quick — sweet or savory?? 

If I could only eat one pie, it would be the chilaquiles quiche just because it is so hearty. And growing up in Chicago, I was surrounded by Mexican neighborhoods, so I have a love for all kinds of Mexican cuisine.  

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