New scent wafts over Silver Creek
July 25, 2007
Marcello Occon is in Brazil this week to observe his uncle, grab some baking tips and innovative recipes.
In December, he’ll travel to Italy.
"I’ll visit some bakeries and see the region (my family) came from to try to see if I can get something original," Occon said, as he waited in Chicago for a connecting flight.
Occon comes from a family that has cooked for four generations and he is continuing the tradition by starting the Fresh Harvest Bakery and Deli located at Silver Creek Junction, which opened a few weeks ago.
"It’s always been a dream of mine to put this together," Occon said.
His dream is shared by his wife, Mildred, a wedding cake decorator.
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"We both come from a family, Italians and Portuguese people, people that really, really cook three meals a day," Occon said.
Some of the recipes he uses are like a window in time.
"There’s a recipe we have for a cream bottom macaroon that was made 100 years ago," Occon said. "It’s legendary. I can remember my grandma forming the cups to put it in and baking it. Many times, we burned our fingers when it came out. It’s some memory."
Along with croissants, Danishes and breads, Occon also wants the bakery to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner. Occon and his wife are reconstructing the menu as they hear feedback from customers.
"We’re trying to revamp as we go along," Occon said. "To be a place you can come get fresh food right out of the oven. Every day, we’ll have a different menu, for chicken and vegetables and people can come and have a good sandwich, soup or pizza."
Occon said part of the space is for a bakery and the other is built for a restaurant.
"We have a full kitchen," he said.
As the bakery component of the store progresses, he plans on adding more menu items so customers can have an option to dine in.
"There will be more of an Italian flavor and healthy burgers and for veggies and we want to do more simple pastas," Occon said.
Occon said there is a misconception that the bakery is a South American ethnic store.
"It’s not ethnic food, it comes more from the European background," he said. "Now we have lasagnas, chicken pot pies, apple pie, it’s very American. People just love it."
Because the bakery is not a national chain, it is able to fill customer requests easily, he said.
"We will fix for them something, even if it’s not in the menu," he said. "We are now trying to accommodate people’s requests. They can come in and say, ‘Hey there’s this bread I just tried, can you make it?’ We have that ability.
"We want to be the neighborhood bakery," Occon continued, "We’re not a franchise, we are a bakery formed out of an ideal with baked fresh goods."
It took some modification of the Occon family recipes to adapt them Park City’s elevation.
"Any baker that works will find an excuse, but the most difficult thing was the altitude. The altitude plays really hard on our recipes. So we went through tons of flour that’s wasted," Occon said.
"Baking goes a little different up here, it’s a little devil for us to figure out some of those breads and pastries, the crispness, it’s the biggest challenge," he added.
Adjusting the recipe doubled as a trial for the Occon’s new business.
"We’ve never done this before," Occon said. "It was a double challenge to put things together, to find the right people and have a menu and come up with a design."
Occon’s vision of the bakery includes a laid-back atmosphere where people can come and mingle.
"It’s more of a cozy place with good bakery goods," Occon said. "We want to know people by name and know what they want to order. They can come in and be comfortable to sit down."
Occon plans to continue his family legacy in Summit County.
"I want to just retire on that place," Occon said. "I want to pass this down to my kids and I see the cycle perpetuated on with my family. Some of my uncles passed it down to their kids and their grandkids worked at (the bakery)."
The Occons have five kids and they hope each will learn life’s lessons as they help with the family business.
"The idea was to be their mentor and grow up on the grounds that I did, and learn a little bit about hard work. It requires a lot," Occon said.
As a family-oriented business, Occon doesn’t have plans to "market this thing into a cookie-cutter franchise," he said. "But my intent is to be the neighborhood bakery to accommodate requests and cater for some restaurants and be there in the community.
"We are doing some recycling programs," he added, "there are going to be recycling bins on the entrance and glass and plastic. We want to be this hip culture where people come as they are."
The Fresh Harvest Bakery and Deli is located at 7182 North Silver Creek Road suites B and C, just north of the Silver Creek exit near Interstate 80. Their hours are from 7 to 8 p.m. For more information, call 565-4555.