Sarah Plumley's new bakery was built on a quart of strawberries, lots of time in the kitchen and a Facebook friendship with a Food Network personality made on a whim.
Saturday, it all comes together when Sarah's Bakery opens in the shops at Bridge Road. Daily offerings will include sweet and savory pies, quiche, tarts, muffins, brownies and a line of treats created under collaboration with Eric Levine, a chef and restaurant owner who also was a champion on the Food Network show, "Chopped."
Levine, who is a partner in the bakery, has created Twisted Treats, an example of which is brown sugar bacon brownies.
Plumley is perhaps best known in the area for her Pies by Sarah blog. She said she started baking in earnest about three years ago when she purchased a quart of strawberries and decided she was going to learn how to make pie.
Baking became a passion and Plumley soon started thinking she might want to give up her job "in a cubicle."
These days, she'll eye just about any ingredient with this thought: "How can I put that into a pie?"
That may include fresh apples or pumpkin from Capitol Market, but it also might mean barbecue.
Plumley, who formerly made pies for a bakery in Kanawha City, said the more she baked, the more she knew she wanted to explore both the sweet and the savory side of the trade, to make pies and tarts in different sizes and expand to other baked goods.
She didn't really intend to open her own storefront, until encouraged by Levine. She friended him on Facebook and they struck up a conversation that resulted in him inviting her to a dinner this past spring that he was hosting at the James Beard House in New York.
The friendship grew from virtual to reality, and Levine invited Plumley up for another visit this summer, this time to bake tarts and pies for a charity dinner for Hope Lodge.
"She knocked it out," Levine said. "She made 1,200 pieces for the dinner."
Levine was impressed with Plumley's skills, as well as her eye and taste buds for her products.
"She has excellent quality," he said.
When the space on Bridge Road, in what was formerly Around The World Travel, became available, Plumley decided to take the plunge and Levine signed on as a partner, along with Plumley's sister, who is a silent partner.