It’s a busy morning at a South Coast bakery.
People are ordering pastries and buying freshly made baguettes at Ventura’s Café Ficelle. The South Mills Road bakery and café is doing booming business for a place that’s been open for less than a year. But, there’s a lot of excitement because the man behind the business has been invited to represent the U.S. at an event in France which is like the Super Bowl of bread baking.
It’s a huge invitation for Café Ficelle Executive Baker Jarrett Chambers, who was living in North Carolina six years ago pursuing a totally different career.
He had studied exercise physiology, but when he tried making some bread from scratch for the first time, it changed his life. Chambers started baking desserts in his spare time, to pay bills. He says he became hooked. He started working for his father in-law’s catering business in Ventura County, but eventually decided to focus on baking.
Chambers studied in San Francisco, and then did an apprenticeship in France at a resort known for its restaurants, and food.
Last summer, the family opened Café Ficelle in Ventura, with Chambers as Executive Baker. He literally has his hands full, as he oversees the operation while doing things like preparing some dough to become the next day’s bread. He says the café has become known for the bread and pastries produced by a team of seven people. Regular customers like Glenda Pickering says the bread is worlds apart from what you find in supermarkets, with its freshness and taste.
Chambers says he never gets tired of baking bread, because no two days are the same. He says you are constantly tweaking the process. The baker says he feels lucky to have found his calling, something which makes people smile. He says most of the time it doesn’t even feel like a job.
And, Chambers says regardless of how the international competition goes in France, he’ll come out of it a winner, because he’ll come home with now ideas on how to create tasty new variations of bread.