Sarah Owens is a California-based cookbook author, baker, professional gardener, and culinary instructor. She was awarded a James Beard for her first book Sourdough and released her second in August 2017 titled Toast & Jam with Roost Books. Her third and much anticipated title Heirloom: Time Honored Techniques, Nourishing Traditions, and Modern Recipes was published September 2019. Sarah curates private dining events, cooks for public pop-up dinners, and teaches baking and preservation workshops globally. Sarah believes strongly in the power of food to unite and heal and has been instrumental in developing a bakery located in Tripoli, Lebanon working with Syrian refugees. Her wholesale, mail order, and workshop space relocated from NYC's Rockaway Beach to California in spring of 2020, and will resume in-person experiences in late 2021.
Originally a professional ceramic artist, Sarah trained as a horticulturist at The New York Botanical Garden's School of Professional Horticulture in 2007. She spent the next six years specializing in the organic care of roses at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden where she developed a keen interest for heirloom cultivars and their history. Sarah founded Ritual Fine Foods (formerly BK17) as a way to bring back nourishing, wholesome, and craveable bread using stone ground heirloom grains and heritage ingredients whenever possible. She believes the power of heirloom genetics can also be used to develop modern hybrids with an eye toward increased flavor, better regional yield, and greater nutrition.
Sarah's enthusiasm for sourdough stems from her own digestive intolerances and fond memories of baking with the women of her family. By using extended-fermentation and soaking methods to activate enzymes in the seeds, whole grains, and stone ground flours, she can not only eat but also enjoy her own breads!
Photo by Hetty McKinnon at The Castle in Rockaway