Wednesday, September 22, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 29
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Santa Maria Sun / Eats

The Sisquoc Baking Company offers wide assortment of freshly baked breads, bagels, scones, and pretzel bites

CALEB WISEBLOOD


In good company
The Sisquoc Baking Company offers free deliveries (for orders with a $15 minimum total) to residents of Sisquoc, Garey, and Orcutt. The company also appears regularly at both the Orcutt Farmers’ Market (every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Santa Maria Farmers’ Market (every Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m.). Owner and baker Alan Vecente’s baked goods can also be pre-ordered for pickup at Bedford Winery in Los Alamos. For more info on the Sisquoc Baking Company, call (916) 538-9793 or visit theangryeater.blog.

Alan Vecente’s prolific culinary career has taken him to professional opportunities in Nevada, Colorado, New York, and Spain, but his latest venture is based in the small Central Coast town he grew up in. In more ways than one, the Sisquoc Baking Company’s origin is a story of coming full circle.

The bakery was founded during the summer of 2020, with a cottage permit allowing Vecente to bake from his home kitchen—in the same house in Sisquoc he grew up in and first learned to cook at age 15.

“There is nowhere else we’d rather live,” said Vecente, speaking on behalf of his wife, Lauren, and dog, Bugsy. “Now that we’re back, I can’t imagine us ever moving again.


BETTER OFF BREAD
The Sisquoc Baking Company offers a diverse variety of freshly baked bread options, including rustic white bread, sourdough, cranberry and roasted walnut sourdough, and four-cheese bread.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ALAN VECENTE

“We were renting in Orcutt, and our lease was up,” the baker continued, explaining how he was able to return to his childhood home. “Our family has kept a home in Sisquoc for many generations and it just happened to be available, so we decided to move back.”

Vecente’s most recent culinary role prior to starting his own business was at Bob’s Well Bread Bakery in Los Alamos, but he was working in a separate field just before establishing the bakery.

“I was just burned out in the kitchen, so I decided to do something that gave me a little more regularity in my schedule and better benefits,” said Vecente, who took a job with the Santa Maria-Bonita School District during his break from cooking.

But the gap made Vecente realize “working for someone else just wasn’t as fulfilling as being in the kitchen and taking on the challenges of advancing my own business.”


GAME OF SCONES
The bakery’s cream scone selection includes fruit combination flavors like blueberry-lemon (made with dried blueberries and lemon zest) and cranberry-orange (made with dried cranberries and orange zest).
PHOTO COURTESY OF ALAN VECENTE

However, Vecente’s main inspiration to leave his job with the school district and start his own cottage bakery came from his mother, who passed away in March 2020, he said.

“She passed away after a battle with lung cancer,” Vecente said. “Her passing made me take a good hard look at my own life and see what I was doing to justify my own potential. The truth is that I wasn’t really doing much to justify the years of hard work I had previously spent in the kitchen.”

With his mother’s passing coinciding with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vecente started baking again not only as a hobby to pass the time during quarantine, but as “a necessary distraction for what was going on in my life at the time,” he said.


BAGEL BAE
The Sisquoc Baking Company’s bagel options include chewy New York-style water-boiled bagels and pickled jalapeño and cheddar bagels. Both options are available singley or by the dozen.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ALAN VECENTE

That June, Vecente used his reignited passion for baking to start the Sisquoc Baking Company, which offers deliveries to locals (residents in Sisquoc, Garey, and Orcutt) and appears regularly at both the Orcutt Farmers’ Market and Santa Maria Farmers’ Market. Vecente’s baked goods can also be pre-ordered for pickup at Bedford Winery in Los Alamos.

Offering these kinds of services throughout the course of the pandemic has given Vecente’s bakery an edge as a cottage business, he explained.

“Many cottage businesses don’t sell directly from their home. They are typically set up to do delivery, farmers’ markets, and pop-up events as opposed to many brick-and-mortar places places that mainly serve food in their dining rooms,” Vecente said. “When COVID restrictions started taking effect and dining rooms closed, many cottage food operations were already structured to take advantage of that.”


DAILY BREAD
“Bread is easily my favorite thing to bake and eat,” Alan Vecente said. “I just enjoy going through the process of taking simple ingredients and turning them into something delicious and satisfying.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF ALAN VECENTE

The Sisquoc Baking Company does not charge a delivery fee (although deliveries require a $15 order minimum). Alongside a diverse variety of freshly baked bread options (rustic white bread, sourdough, cranberry and roasted walnut sourdough, and four-cheese bread), Vecente’s menu features a selection of bagels, scones, and pretzel bites for patrons to choose from.

But if you ask the local baker which of his menu items is his personal favorite to bake, and which item is his favorite to snack on, you’ll get the same answer.

“Bread is easily my favorite thing to bake and eat. I just enjoy going through the process of taking simple ingredients and turning them into something delicious and satisfying,” Vecente said. “The sourdough is my favorite food to eat from the menu. I like to grill a thick slice with olive oil and eat it with butter and a little sprinkle of salt. It’s super simple and tasty.”

Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood is a bread head. Send comments to cwiseblood@santamariasun.com.










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