Voices of the Bay: Foglia Pastry Chef Piper McAloon

A Mt. Hope High School student moonlights as a dessert specialist in Bristol


At the end of her sophomore year in 2021, Piper McAloon applied for a waitressing job at the then-to-open Foglia, a plant-based restaurant in Bristol owned by chef Peter Carvelli. To her surprise, she was offered the position of pastry chef – and it has been no ordinary after-school job. A self-taught baker, McAloon graduates from Mt. Hope High School this June and will be attending Johnson & Wales University studying the pastry arts in the fall, during what McAloon hopes will be the first steps in her childhood dream of eventually owning her own bakery.

Plant Based: Vegan is no animal products, so no meat, no dairy, no eggs. Some people don’t eat honey. I recommend anyone who wants to go vegan to go vegetarian first. I was vegetarian for seven years and vegan for two and a half. I just kind of lost interest in meat and as I got older, I didn’t like the ethics of it. My parents were never big meat eaters. Then I stopped eating dairy and I eventually cut out eggs. It was gradual.

Easy Bake: At age 10 or 11, I started baking on my own. I would watch all the cooking shows and the Georgetown Cupcake show. Baking was super fun for me and then became this passion. My homeroom teacher Ms. Talbot is also vegan and she told me about this place [Foglia] opening up. I applied thinking I could do prep or waitress. I had put baking on my resume because when I was 12, I had to make 15 pies for Thanksgiving. [Carvelli] says, “I want you to be my pastry chef.” I was like, “What?” It’s the end of my sophomore year. I was the first person he hired. It was exciting and it’s been really cool because I’ve been there since the start, and also a big learning curve because I had only baked at home.

Creative Inspiration: From the beginning, I have come up with the dessert menu. Chef Pete had a couple of ideas, but I basically have full reign on dessert. The first things I made were cheesecake, chocolate olive oil cake, and a berry galette, which is kind of like a freeform pie. It’s like the most delicious thing ever. I love using in-season fruit: rhubarb, berries, any stone fruit. Apples are good except you have to core and peel them. Strawberries are probably the easiest. I had to do some research. I hadn’t really done any vegan baking before I got my job. I had only been vegan for less than a year at that point.

Same But Different: There are really good vegan butters like shortening but they are not as bad for you. There are so many different egg replacements, like flax egg, which is ground flaxseed mixed with water and gets thick. Applesauce works. The most interesting one is called Aquafaba. It’s the liquid in a can of chickpeas. I use that to replace egg whites in a meringue. It whips right up and is super fluffy.

Clock In: We are open Thursday through Saturday 5-9pm, Sunday brunch from 10am-2pm, and an early dinner 4-8pm. I go in Tuesdays and Wednesdays after school for about four or five hours at a time and then on Saturdays to replenish and make items for Sunday brunch. It was a big learning curve.

Valentine’s Day Sweet: Anything chocolate like Vegan Champagne Chocolate Truffles!



No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here