Every once in a while a person comes along that changes your life. Julie Barker, former owner of Bread and Ocean Bakery, is one of those people for me and the community that we live in here on the North Oregon Coast. Julie just sold Bread and Ocean to a local family. This transition has brought lots of memories flooding in about Julie that I am so thankful for.
When I first met Julie in 1995, she was part owner and chef at the Blue Sky Café in Manzanita. I was new to town and still cooking hamburger helper for dinner. For those of you who remember, “The Blue Sky Café” was a luminary dinner restaurant that changed the way people thought about food…forever. I know it changed me; I fell in love with food there. It was open under Julie’s care (and a few partners) from 1987 to 2003. As one of my friends put it, “The Blue Sky became the watermark for all restaurants, everything was compared to it and still is.”
Julie didn’t start out as the chef she has become, she started as a bartender/server. They soon came to realize how difficult it was to have good cooks as Julie said, “When we (Julie, her ex-husband and partners) bought Blue Sky in 1987, our cooks were pretty much run of the mill and we ended up weeding them out. I started messing around in the kitchen out of necessity.” She was completely untrained so she started searching for direction in her cooking and began devouring cookbooks like novels. “I would read hundreds of them” Julie shared
Around this same time, Julie and her ex hubby stopped in Mendocino at the Café Beaujolais and had dinner. This turned out to be a game changing meal. “At this meal we ate things like a goat cheese salad with bacon vinaigrette, you know that was the very beginning of chefs using goat cheese, and it changed my life! From that one meal I woke up,” She paused, “and fell in love with food and cooking.” Manzanita Oregon has been ever thankful for this awakening!
Julie left the Blue Sky in 2003 and started Bread and Ocean bakery. This was an upheaval for the devotees of the Blue Sky, but we were able to wet our appetite on her crazy foods there where she made sure there was always something gluten free and paleo to offer. She continued to shine her great love of food down on us from this delicious place till she became restless once again.
That’s the thing, with a great lust for taste comes restlessness and we will benefit once more. Julie is going to open an ice cream and chowder shop in Nehalem this next spring called “Buttercup”. She will make sure to have paleo ice creams there as part of the deal. As a parting gift, Julie has generously shared her most requested recipe, her famous potted Montrachet that was served at the Blue Sky. We are so lucky she has brought her love of food to so many people, it’s contagious. After all, I am no longer serving hamburger helper. Julie, I thank you for this. You have brought such deliciousness to our lives.
- Layer in crock or mason jar or whatever in this order for EACH layer:
- 2 T soft goat cheese like chevre or montrachet
- 1 T. chopped sundried tomatoes
- 1 T. chopped roasted garlic
- 2 tsp chopped olives of choice...kalamatas are Julie’s fav
- 1 T. chopped fresh herbs...she liked to use basil and oregano
- 2 T. really good extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Get out all the ingredients and prep them first. Layer the ingredients in your chosen clean jars and make sure and press down each layer. Pour you EVOO over each layer as you go. You should be able to get 3 layers in a ½ pint jar. Finish off with a generous pour of EVOO. Make sure and bring this most requested recipe to room temp before serving. Great served with veggies or paleo crackers.