My sister in law always wanted to have her own bakery. But what could a mother of four little kids do? Between carpools, PTA meetings, swimming lessons and girl scout cookie sales, there was no time. So, she contented herself with baking pastries and breads at home and for her friends.
Oh, she had motivation. My brother was one of those charismatic French chefs, and whoever had dined at the Brasserie in Fort Meyers on a Saturday night knows about the Cabaret nights, when all the servers, cooks, ex-Club Med Jean-Claude and Chef Gerard would take the stage and make the audience roar with skits and songs. And my sister in law watched, and kept cooking her pastries, slipping away to take a chocolate confection class or two… and still dream of her own bakery.
When her kids grew up and became more independent, she went to work as a pastry chef at a Florida resort, baked cakes for the clients, learned the trade, still dreaming of her own bakery.
But suddenly she was a widow, when my brother died of cancer at the age of 56.
Some dreams were gone forever. The man that had cooked for her for so many years, who had made her laugh and had taught her the secrets of French cuisine and baking, that man was no longer at her side. But her dream, her little dream of a little French bakery did not extinguish. It grew and grew until it became a reality.
Today, three years after our beloved chef Gerard passed to the other side, there is a new organic bakery in Fort Meyers: The French Bread Oven. In the tradition of French Bakers, plump breads and little pastries line the counters and vitrines.
It is our dreams that make us forge ahead in any of life’s downturn; dreams, friends, family, and the memory of those who brought us there. Visit the French Oven Bakery in Fort Meyers, and have a chat with ROCIO, the little baker that could… http://frenchbreadoven.org/