Eat, Pie, Love.
Teeny Lamothe ’07 is traveling the country to find her piece of the proverbial pie.
By Gary E. Frank
Teeny Lamothe ’07 talks about pie making the way artists talk about painting or sculpture; the ﬁnished work is the name of the vocation.
“I think pie is one of those things that used to be what our grandmothers and mothers did,” says Lamothe, who earned a B.F.A. in acting from IC. “It’s a very traditional dessert; it takes time, it takes eﬀort to make. For me, I think pie is a way of connecting with what my grandmother and mother did, but I’m also putting my own spin on it.”
Her love for pie baking has grown into a desire to make a living at it. But, recognizing right away that she knew very little about managing a small business, Lamothe embarked this fall on a “tour of pie,” a journey to pie shops in several different cities to work side-by-side for a month at each stop with shop owners and learn about the business.
“I call it my ‘lady bakership,’ a quest to become the best pie baker I can become in order to have knowledge and understanding of small businesses and all things pie,” says the Littleton, Colorado, native. Lamothe stopped in Ithaca in October, at Emmy’s Organics, which is owned by her classmate Samantha Abrams ’08 and her partner, Ian.
Lamothe, whose ﬁrst name refers to her being born 10 weeks early, has loved pies for as long as she can remember. She even recalls the ﬁrst time she ate a slice of pie, her mother’s cherry pie, which she describes as having the “perfect combination of tart and sweet.”
“When I was little, I had a baby rolling pin and small tins, so I would bake alongside my mother,” she recalls. “My brother and I grew up loving pie. When our birthdays came around, we asked for pie instead of cake.”
After graduation, Lamothe moved to Chicago to pursue work in improvisational theater, eventually becoming a member of the Dog & Pony Theatre Company while working as a nanny during the day. She liked being a nanny but says, “Ultimately I wanted a change, and so I decided to bake.”
In addition to her love for pie baking, Lamothe was also inspired by Waitress, a 2007 independent ﬁlm whose main character concocts unusual recipes like, “I-hate-my-husband pie . . . you take bittersweet chocolate and don’t sweeten it. You make it into a pudding and drown it in caramel.”
“In that movie, it’s all about diﬀerent weird variations on pie,” says Lamothe. “Yesterday, I made a pear-ginger pie with a parmesan crust. It’s a way of thinking about ﬂavors in an entirely different way and seeing how far you can push the envelope and still make something people want to eat.”
The “tour” is supported by Lamothe’s own savings and fund-raising through Indie GoGo, a crowd-sourced capital website. She stays with friends in each of the cities she visits and writes a blog, Teeny Pies, about the experience.
Her tour, which began in Seattle, moved to Boston after Ithaca, and Lamothe planned to work at pie shops in Baltimore and Fairﬁeld County, Connecticut.
Five years from now, Lamothe hopes to be running her own pie shop in Chicago, hopefully with a business partner.
“I love living in Chicago,” Lamothe laughs. “I have a nice base there, and I can force all of my friends to buy my pies.”