COOS BAY — Chocolate enthusiast and renowned pastry chef Darrell Folck is returning to his roots. The longtime, former Oregon Coast Culinary Institute instructor is harnessing his nearly 25-year career in the culinary arts into his new bakery and cafe, Darrell’s Devils Food.

“I had an epiphany one day and realized what my dream really was,” said Folck. “It’s to be able to express myself freely with my baking and cooking. My hands are ready to go back to the rolling pin, knives are sharpened and I’m excited to cook again.”

After 18 years of teaching at both OCCI and Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, Folck, who graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, said with months of constructing and getting the bakery ready for opening day that he’s more than eager to start working.

The bakery will feature a wide range of fresh, handmade breads, a to-go lunch menu, custom cakes and edible art creations. It will also showcase a unique selection of imported beer, wine and chocolates as well as an array of pastries including seasonally flavored macrons.

“We’ll have a good five staple breads that we offer throughout the year along with some that we’ll rotate based on the season,” said Folck. “The menu will feature Detroit style pizzas, soups, sandwiches and salads. We also plan on using Face Rock Creamery cheese on some of our pizzas as well as our own Italian sausage that we’ll make here.”

Inspired by his family, many of the menu items are named after various family members including Folck’s uncle and kids. Growing up in a very encouraging household, Folck credits much of his success, work ethic and exposure to the culinary arts to his parents.

As a child, Folck said his mother, who worked as an attorney, would oftentimes take him with her on power lunches and dinner meetings with her clients. He said he remembers eating at a number of fancy and diverse restaurants causing him to develop a strong palate at a very young age.  

“As kids and even today as adults my mom always made sure we had chances to be successful,” said Folck. “If she had the ability to help us in one way or another she did and I learned a lot from her.”

His father, a Vietnam veteran, was also a major influence. According to Folck, his father who was baker himself frequently turned to baking as a way to cope with his PTSD.

“My dad inspired me to work really hard and never give up,” he said. “In the future, I plan on creating a nonprofit organization inspired by him for veterans with PTSD to do some baking.”

With chocolate being at the heart of his bakery, Folck said the sweet, versatile ingredient will have a strong presence at his shop.

“Chocolate is really my favorite,” Folck said. “I love being able to do things with chocolate that people might think is impossible. It’s a bit of a challenge, but I dare to do it. The possibilities with chocolate are endless.”

As far as the building itself, Folck said he made numerous upgrades to the property to be able to support a fully functional bakery such as updating its electrical wiring. Most of its decorations and furniture are handmade items used from recycled materials.

“It really takes a village to open a business and I’ve had so many great people come through here and help me,” Folck said. “My dad, mom, uncle, sisters, grandparents, wife, kids and friends have all affected and empowered me in so many ways. This bakery was 25 years in the making and I couldn't thank them enough.”

The grand opening for Darrell’s Devils Food, which is located on 135 Anderson Avenue in Coos Bay, is Feb. 9. Its bakery hours will be from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. For more information on the bakery, visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Chefdeezy/ or call its shop at 541-808-9666.

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