When Maria Chase was a small child, she learned about chef Alice Waters’ pioneering approach to food. Waters, owner of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., ascribes to all things local, organic and fresh — all words that are commonplace in kitchens and cookbooks worldwide now, but when she started in the ’70s and ’80s were revolutionary.
Chase, 28, took over ownership this year of Morning Glory Bakery in Bar Harbor, which is open year-round on Mount Desert Island. Former owner Camille Hoffman had owned it since 2007 after buying it from original owner Anne Durand, who opened the bakery in 1993. Chase has worked at the bakery for five years, quickly jumping from night baker to kitchen manager and now owner.
“It’s right in line with what I’m really passionate about, which is really good, very local food,” said Chase, a New York native who moved to MDI in 2002 to attend College of the Atlantic and stayed on after falling in love with the community. “I grew up on a farm, I cooked growing up with my mom. I’ve always been into it.”
Though the local and organic boom started a few years ago, Morning Glory has been local and organic since the very beginning. It has only increased the amount of Maine products it uses, between the milk and other dairy from Tide Mill Farm in the Washington County town of Edmunds, the organic produce and meat from Mandala Farm in Gouldsboro, and the Maine flour and buckwheat from Crown of Maine Organic Co-op, based in Vassalboro but sourcing from products statewide.
“Local food means a lot to me, because the way I think about it is like a closed circuit,” said Chase. “We buy from farmers, and then we sell back to the farmers, back to the community. And I also see the love that we put into our food here. Everything is from scratch. We really pay attention to what we’re making.”
Once all that food comes in, however, it’s time for Chase and her team of bakers and cooks to create edible works of art. Bagels, bread and scones, to start, a frequent staple of a Bar Harbor breakfast, along with muffins, croissants and a sinfully sweet sticky bun. For lunch, try the big sandwiches jammed with local produce — try the Steiner, a meatloaf sandwich topped with roasted tomato and onion and horseradish mayo, or the Nevins, which is brie and sauteed onions topped with arugula and spicy honey. Or there’s quiche, and soup, and hot pretzels and spinach bread twists.
The artistry especially comes in with their custom desserts, such as the chocolate hazelnut tart or the maple creme brulee cheesecake or the chocolate oblivion torte. There’s also the wide array of seasonal treats, like coffin-shaped brownies for Halloween, Conversation Heart cookies for Valentine’s Day, or Guinness cupcakes with Bailey’s buttercream for St. Patrick’s Day.
“We can’t fake anything,” said Chase. “I think — I hope — that it shows in what we make. At 28 … I feel very lucky to be able to own a place like this.”
Morning Glory Bakery is still on its winter hours, which are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays; starting May 1 they’ll be open seven days a week. Like them on Facebook to receive updates on daily specials.