This Sunday, area residents will have an opportunity to help the Sarkozy Bakery raise enough “dough” to reopen while being treated to a special presentation of “Kitchen Conversations,” which features bakery owner Judy Sarkozy.
Screenings of the locally-produced documentary will take place at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Little Theater, located on the corner of Oakland Drive and Oliver Lane, on Sunday, Nov. 4.
Dhera Strauss, Kalamazoo College faculty member and local documentarian, produced “Kitchen Conversations,” which she described as focusing on “the importance of cooking and how to fit it into a busy life.”
‘Kitchen Conversations’ features 13 independent segments, during which, according to the film’s website, “professional women who have lived at least half a century invite us into their kitchens, where each prepares a recipe that reminds her of her family.”
While the recipes are being prepared, the women talk about food, cooking and life, often offering the viewer an unexpected gem of wisdom.
Sarkozy serves as the thread that links all of the segments throughout the film.
“I saw her as a real character,” Strauss said.
Sarkozy was equally complimentary of Strauss and her final documentary product.
“She is very skilled at making the camera disappear,” Sarkozy said. “She gets a natural…normal response. ‘Kitchen Conversations’ is a touching vision that makes connections about food that are being lost. It’s a throwback to a generation where meals were prepared at home.”
“Kitchen Conversations” was produced before a fire destroyed the Sarkozy Bakery earlier this year. This weekend’s screening will feature an additional 20 minutes of footage added to the end of the film by Strauss, including the destruction of the bakery and the almost immediate outpouring of community support that followed the disaster.
Sarkozy and her husband came to Kalamazoo in the late 1970s. It was during the couple’s first winter in town, while a blizzard raged outside, that Sarkozy prepared Julia Child’s French Bread in hopes that the warm bread would offer some relief from the cold. Sarkozy remembers telling her husband, “This is good. We could sell this.”
Shortly after, the Sarkozy Bakery was open for business. On their first day the couple did $21 in sales, but it did not take long before the community adopted them.
The bakery quickly became known for their French Bread. They even received a post-card from France that said, “The only thing I miss [about Kalamazoo] is your bread.”
The Sarkozy Bakery has now been a part of the Kalamazoo landscape for 34 years.
After the Sarkozy Bakery was destroyed in a fire on Feb. 25 (34 years to the day that the bakery first opened) the community began offering its support. According to Sarkozy, the bakery received $10,000 in donations before any plans had been made about a new location.
“People wanted us to reopen,” Sarkozy said. “Kalamazoo is an unbelievably supportive and caring community.”
According to Sarkozy, donations began pouring in from all over the country. The bakery has received contributions from locations as far away as Portland, ME and San Francisco, CA.
Sunday’s screening is the most recent in a series of events as part of the Raising Dough Campaign, which serves as Sarkozy Bakery’s fundraising effort. Past events have been held at Bell’s Brewery, the October Art Hop, and the Kalamazoo Bread Festival.
Sarkozy credits her “terrific staff’ for much of Sarkozy Bakery’s popularity.
“I told the staff, if we reopen, it’s your fault,” she said. “You’re too good.”
Attendees will have a chance to meet Judy Sarkozy and the other women featured in “Kitchen Conversations” on Sunday during a reception that is scheduled to take place between screenings.
Tickets will be available at the Little Theater box office the day of the event; however, to ensure a seat, is it is recommended that reservations be made.
There will be a suggested donation of $10, but all contributions are welcomed.
For more information, visit www.sarkozybakery.com.