Prioritized Pastries Alex Feick

Alex Feick opened Prioritized Pastries last fall.

While doing their part to maintain social distance, home cooks everywhere are honing their skills in the kitchen. Feast consulted with some of St. Louis' finest chefs and business owners for their best advice on how to make easy, wholesome meals using simple pantry staples. Find out how to make the most of your groceries in this Q&A series, which outlines some pro tips for creating nutritious and comforting from-scratch meals, baked goods and more.

Alex Feick is the owner and pastry chef of St. Louis’ only exclusively vegan, gluten-free bakery, Prioritized Pastries, which debuted a brick-and-mortar storefront last year. The bake shop is currently offering its handcrafted pastries via curbside carryout on Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 4pm, with special orders by appointment only throughout the week. Check out the Prioritized Pastries website for updates and offerings.

What are some essential tools in your kitchen you can't go without, and how are they useful on a regular basis or for time-saving purposes? The most helpful tool in my kitchen is by far the underrated plastic bowl scraper. From helping me handle often crumbly gluten-free batters, to cleaning up big messes after the kids, it’s my go-to. 

What’s your favorite ingredient to work with and why? Coconut oil! Not only because Lizzo wrote an entire song about it, but it’s one of the most versatile ingredients in my kitchen, especially when using substitutions. 

What advice can you offer home cooks who are looking to work with more plant-based and gluten-free ingredients? Don’t be afraid! Nine times out of 10, an ingredient or recipe seems scary or intimidating but it absolutely is not. When working with substitutes, oftentimes you can use them exactly the way you would any other ingredients. And the best part of home cooking is that if something doesn’t work out, you can always try again! 

What is a convenient, comforting family meal you like to make with pantry staples? I love to make hash out of almost anything. Start with a starchy base – I usually have potatoes around but have been known to use butternut squash or whatever gets harvested from the garden as well. Add a protein and whatever vegetables you have lying around! 

Can you share an easy recipe or tutorial for something home cooks can put together quickly to sate a sweet tooth? If you’ve got time to bake something, these quick and easy brownies do the trick for me. And as an added bonus, they are completely vegan and can be made gluten-free!