Pie in the Sky will be grounded for the next month, but its owner is planning to take a bite out of something new.
Jeste Helen Burton closed the physical location of her bake shop in the last week of December, and while she will still take and make special orders in her home, Burton said she’s taking time off to decompress until the end of the month.
“I’ve worked six to seven days a week for five years,” Burton said. “I wanted to attend to my well-being.”
Burton said the decision was hard to close the Seward Street shop she’d been for almost five years.
“I worked very hard, and it was part of my life for a very long time,” Burton said. “There are so many people who have become part of my life because of the shop. Not having that, that’s hard. Making the decision to shut down my shop was brutal.”
But she’s excited about her new venture.
“I’m pumped about being at home more,” Burton said.
When Burton resumes taking baking orders around the end of January, she also intends to launch a new business — JuneauBites.
It was conceived of as a meal prep service after Burton made lunches for a handful of friends, but it has morphed into something different, Burton said.
The focus has shifted to a service that would have Burton help people shop for ingredients and show them how to meal prep in their kitchens. Meal prepping is cooking and storing full meals ahead of time. The idea is to prepare healthy things while there is time so that they can be grabbed during the busier parts of the week.
“My whole thing is encouraging people to cook,” Burton said. “I also have a bent toward vegetarianism.”
The food Burton helps prepare through JuneauBites won’t be strictly fruit and veggies.
Burton has previously taught classes on how to prepare game for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. In-house catering would also be possible.
“With JuneauBites, I can teach people how to cook what it is they want to cook,” Burton said. “If I’m in people’s houses, I can help them cook moose. I could help them cook caribou. I could grocery shop and cook for them. I can go in and do dinner parties for them.”
Burton said the shift in focus will allow her to stay active and connected to customers online. Burton is prolific on Facebook and Instagram, and said she plans to post frequently on those sites and field food-related questions from friends and followers. She will also be active on the JuneauBites site.
Despite the many changes, Burton is keeping her contact information the same — (907)523-9135 and Pieintheskyak@gmail.com.
She hopes the sense of community she felt was fostered at Pie in the Sky, which she compared to hanging out in someone’s kitchen, remains unchanged, too.
“To come and pick things up, they’ll have to come to my real house,” Burton said. “Instead of hanging out at my pretend kitchen shop, they’ll come to my adorable little cottage.”