Who We Are

Mark Dietrich

Mark Dietrich

Hello, everyone. Mark here. If you’re wondering how this endeavor came about, I may disappoint you, because I’m not sure I know. It would be cool to tell you that I’ve been around good food and baking my whole life, but that’s not really true. Beyond the few things I enjoyed eating as a kid (and still do, for the most part), I didn’t give cooking a whole lot of thought until I was in college. But then something sort of miraculous happened. I moved in with a couple of other guys after my freshman year, and the three of us started feeding each other (and most of the rest of our friends). That was it, really. We learned out of necessity. And since dessert naturally came after dinner, my interest in baking began in that kitchen on Jefferson as well.

My performing life goes back much farther. I literally can’t remember not singing. Even when I was very small, I remember making the neighborhood kids laugh with my earnest boy-soprano rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I had a couple of great teachers, and after high school, I decided to try and get serious about music. Things have gone better than I could have hoped, really. I’ve done a little bit of everything. Straight-up opera, straight-up theatre, and a LOT of ensemble singing, with groups both large and small. I began life with The Rose Ensemble while several of us were working with a smaller group called Dare to Breathe. I credit these two groups with teaching me most of the skills I use every day as a musician.

How do these two lives go together? Maybe more easily than you might think. When I’m singing, I’m trying to share what I’ve discovered about music with folks that might be interested. When I’m baking, I’m trying to share what I love about food. It’s not really that different. I’m intrigued by the one-on-one relationship, whether with a customer or an audience member. Before the bakery was the bakery, I spent nearly twenty years in retail music sales. It was the same story there. What I loved, and what I was good at, was taking care of customers. I learned their names. I watched their children grow up. I went to dinner with them. And sometimes, I was able to fold them into my “other” life. That’s my plan for The April Fool. When you call, I want you to know that you’re not a number, or a faceless business transaction. You’re either someone I already know, or someone I look forward to knowing. Either way, I will do my best to take care of you. If you don’t see it on the menu, ask anyway. If you don’t get what you like, or like what you’re getting, then none of this will work. Thanks for taking the time to visit. I look forward to feeding you.

rule

Kim Sueoka

Kim Sueoka

Hi, everyone! My name is Kim. Mark has been an inspiration to me in music and food-making since I met him (we’ve been singing and sharing food together for just over a decade), and I am so thrilled to be a part of The April Fool Bakery!

I come from a small community on the south shore of Kaua’i, a place that is nurtured and adorned by wonderfully unique food and people. While I was growing up, our family ran a grocery store and take-out restaurant on Kōloa Road. My dad was off to the kitchen before sunrise every day to prep the day’s offerings. I loved going there before school to watch him work with my Aunty Lily – their movements were so exact, their eyes and bodies magically alert to the needs of each ingredient. It seemed like all of the adults in my life were crazy about food – making it, sharing it, talking about it. I think I have become one of them. Food is entwined with my most potent memories – here are a few of my favorites:

-The rattle in my ears when my dad threw sparkling slices of white onion into a huge wok.
-The magical vision of Dad’s fish tempura puffing up like golden duck eggs and sailing to the surface of the deep-fryer.
-The gentle resistance of Aunty Yoshiko’s sweet bread dough under my palms.
-The sweet, peppery-sharp fragrance of Aunty Lily’s roasting chickens between bastings.
-The joyful outburst around a table at the sight of Uncle Mong’s haupia cream puffs.
-Late night talks with my mom over bowls of her nutty-smooth kinako mochi.

As soon as my parents allowed it, I began my own foray into cooking and baking, first trying my hand at main-dish recipes in Mom’s collection, then exploring the possibilities of the oven. Oh, the endless kinds of cookies, bars, cakes, flans, pies, and breads! It was a bonanza of experiments, and my family and friends were so willing to try everything I served them, bless their hearts. I treasure my visits back home, where our friends and family still gather and cook for each other as often as possible.

All along, there was music; it was in the air, it moved my heart, and it fascinated my mind. Folk and popular songs were sung at weekly gatherings of our extended family, with special renditions by my dad’s buddies. Later, choral music, music theater, art song, and opera came alive to me through Millie Wellington, David Conrad, and Arnold Meister, three incredible teachers and performers. They were kind, firm, motivating, and empowering, and they believed that all people can communicate through art. I majored in classical vocal music in college and in graduate school, and my working life has centered on performing, teaching, and organizing music projects. I currently sing with Mark in The Rose Ensemble, I perform and teach with Lau Hawaiian Collective, and I’m a section leader/soloist at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Minneapolis.

When I’m not singing, my flame for the kitchen lights up. Like music, the kitchen offers us an astounding range of color and texture with which to create. Like music, the kitchen is a vehicle for connecting with fellow humans, and for conveying comfort, hope, beauty, and balance. I’m excited to learn about you, to meet you face to face, and to find out what The April Fool can bring to your world. Mahalo so much for visiting, and warmest wishes!

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