To make up for the loss, the former economist taught himself to bake. He researched and tested recipes, getting feedback from family and friends. He even returned to California for a short-course at the San Francisco Baking Institute to hone his craft. When the stay-at-home dad's youngest child started school last year, he launched Happy Harbor Bread Company, a micro-bakery located in the basement of his Bountiful home. The name, Stokes says, comes from his other passion sailing and racing on the Great Salt Lake.
Here's how the bread-buying works: Customers order and pay online. The next day, usually a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, Stokes makes the bread and delivers it free to customers who live in Bountiful, Centerville and North Salt Lake. A loaf plus delivery is about $5.50.
"I don't have a storefront, so delivery is a convenient way to get the bread," said the 40-year-old father of five. "It's an interesting business model."
Stokes' most popular loaf is the two-pound Delightful Round, a European-style sourdough, a nod to his Italian mother. "It's got a soft crust and is chewier and more mild than a tangy San Francisco sourdough," he said. "But it's a kid pleaser."
He also sells a multi-grain loaf as well as cookies and English scones.
While Stokes started small, using only a regular kitchen oven, his business has been on the rise. He gained many new customers by having a booth at the Thursday Farmers Market in Bountiful, and recently purchased two commercial ovens to keep up with demand. He needed them over the holidays when he was making more than 100 loaves a week.
Even though the farmers market season is over, Stokes still makes extra loaves for regulars and leaves them at Gregory's Wheat Shop.
He makes the drop-off once a week and the bread sells quickly, said Jeanette Forrey, the assistant manager at the Bountiful kitchen and health store."People know that he comes on Tuesday about 2 p.m., and they are waiting for it," she said.
Soup man • When chef Adam Kreisel launched Chaia Cucina Catering in 2011, he was looking for a signature product that would generate extra income and create a niche for his new catering company. The Salt Lake City chef settled on soup.
"Over the years, I've been known for a few different things, but one in particular has always been my soups and sauces and my ability to blend flavors," he said.
It was a natural pick, since soup is possibly the most beloved food on the planet. "It's a homey thing that makes you feel good, no matter what," said Kreisel.
Once a month, Kreisel offers a different homemade soup through an online program called S.L.U.R.P., or Soup Lends Understanding, Relaxation and Pleasure. "All the things a good soup is," he said.
A S.L.U.R.P. newsletter announces the soup of the month. Customers affectionately called SLURPies order online and pick up their soup on the first Saturday of the month at Caputo's Market & Deli in downtown Salt Lake City. One quart of soup costs $11. For an additional $5, Kreisel will deliver.
It's the use of local ingredients and the small-batch taste that sets S.L.U.R.P soups apart from other pre-made, reheatable soups. "Everything I'm using is fresh, and in most instances it's organic or sustainable," Kreisel said.
In January, for example, he's offering a Northern Italian chicken and barley stew made with a homemade stock, organic pearl barley, chicken thighs, fresh carrots, garlic, onions, San Marzano tomatoes, several herbs and spices and a touch of chardonnay. Other months he has offered an heirloom squash bisque and an organic lentil soup with kale and Italian sausage.
Emily Drown may be the one responsible for Kreisel's new business. Last year, instead for giving chocolate Easter eggs as gifts, the Salt Lake City resident ordered 36 quarts of Kreisel carrot ginger soup.
"It was a hit and friends and family asked how it could be a regular occurrence," she said. Now she orders several quarts every month, keeping some for herself and giving some away.
"It's an opportunity to try soups that you normally cannot find on a store shelf," she said. And because Kreisel uses fresh ingredients, "its makes you more aware of what's really in season."
Happy Harbor Bread Co.
What • A home-based artisan bread company in Bountiful operated by Chris Stokes.
Order • hhbreadco.com or 801-631-2741.
Details • Order Monday, Wednesday or Friday before 9 p.m. and your bread (or other treats) will be delivered the next afternoon. Signature loaf is the two-pound Delightful Round, a mild European sourdough.
Cost • Loaves are $5.35, plus tax. Home delivery is free to those who live in Bountiful, Centerville and North Salt Lake.
Also available •On Tuesday afternoons, loaves are dropped off at Gregory's Wheat Shop, 920 S. 500 West, Bountiful; 801-295-3405.
S.L.U.R.P by Chaia Cucina Catering
What • Monthly soup club in Salt Lake City operated by chef/caterer Adam Kreisel.
Order • chaiacucina.com or 801-598-3986.
Details • Go online and sign up for the newsletter that announces the monthly soup offering.
Cost • Quarts cost $11 plus tax. Pick up the soup on the first Saturday of the month between 9 and 11 a.m. at Caputo's Market & Deli, 314 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City. Home delivery available for $5.