Restaurant News & Reviews

A.G.’s Food Archivist preserves family recipes via video

Thai curry soup, a popular menu item at Roxanne’s Café in San Luis Obispo, is one of the recipes documented by Ann-Terese Barket, aka The Food Archivist.
Thai curry soup, a popular menu item at Roxanne’s Café in San Luis Obispo, is one of the recipes documented by Ann-Terese Barket, aka The Food Archivist.

What to get the foodie who has every gadget, ingredient and cookbook they want? The perfect gift just might be a 2-inch flash drive from Arroyo Grande resident Ann-Terese Barket, aka The Food Archivist.

Barket documents family recipes via videos and transcripts so they may be easily shared with relatives and friends. She officially started her business in November 2015 after realizing how important recipes were in maintaining the cherished culinary memories of her own family.

“But unofficially, this has been (happening) since I was a little girl,” Barket said. “I would watch my dad cook all the recipes at our El Matador Restaurant (located in Morro Bay from 1969 to 1989, not affiliated with the new one in San Luis Obispo). I documented his every move, and when he passed I felt the need to have a cookbook filled with his recipes.

“This was the beginning of making an El Matador family cookbook, which was only possible by the knowledge of my eldest sister Nancy. She was the only person who cooked with my dad and knew the recipes. That’s when I understood the value of documenting family recipes for now and future generations.”

Barket, who has a doctorate in East West psychology, spent 13 years in the world of academia. Her career experiences included research, documentary field work, child counseling and teaching child development and psychology in the state university system.

In doing so, she unintentionally developed the perfect skill set for becoming The Food Archivist.

“Really, everything I’ve been doing has been leading up to this,” Barket said.

To be in someone’s kitchen, it’s like a dance. We’re having a conversation, and I love the things that just happen.

Ann-Terese Barket, aka The Food Archivist

Her archival approach goes well beyond that beloved 3-by-5-inch recipe card written in your grandmother’s perfect cursive and dotted with splashes of spaghetti sauce. That piece of paper might have all the ingredients and steps listed, but it won’t show techniques or specify just how much a “smidgen” is.

A video reveals all that and often more, such as the family history of a recipe.

To illustrate the process, Barket archived Roxanne Lapuyade’s recipe for Thai curry soup, a popular menu item at her restaurant, Roxanne’s Café, behind Smiling Dog Yoga in San Luis Obispo. The two women decided to shoot the video in the café’s kitchen in mid-morning when the natural light would be at its best.

Roxanne Lapuyade, owner of Roxanne's Cafe in San Luis Obispo, explains a step in making her Thai curry soup to Ann-Terese Barket, aka The Food Archivist.

“I like to use natural lighting when filming,” Barket noted. “It complements the organic feel of the footage and matches my style of art.”

The session began with Barket recording audio of Lapuyade explaining ingredients and steps for making the soup.

Barket asked brief questions for clarification: “What do you mean by ‘sweating’ vegetables?” “How much is a scant amount of salt?” “What size can of coconut milk are you using?”

Next, she shot video of Lapuyade preparing the soup. Though Barket occasionally zoomed in to get close-ups of techniques or asked for more explanation, her presence was unobtrusive and her demeanor relaxed and collaborative.

“To be in someone’s kitchen, it’s like a dance,” Barket said. “We’re having a conversation, and I love the things that just happen.”

She applies the same light touch in putting together the final product. Video editing is kept to a minimum, preserving the personality of the cook and any anecdotal family history. The recipe itself is transcribed into print form and saved as a pdf file.

Both are saved onto a 2-inch flash drive encased in leather that fits into standard USB ports. One side is imprinted with the words “PASS THE RECIPE PLEASE” — a tagline that captures Barket’s intent for the project.

“Once I give it to you, it’s yours to pass the recipe along,” she explained. “People get excited about doing this themselves, but then they get busy and often the opportunity is lost. That’s what I’m here for; I’m making the information available for the present generation and future generations that aren’t even in the picture yet.”

Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at ktbudge@sbcglobal.net.

The Food Archivist

Contact Ann-Terese Barket at 234-3069 or thefoodarchivist

@gmail.com, or visit

The Food Archivist Facebook page.

Expect to spend: $200 for individuals (Barket donates $2 per project to the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County), $150 for nonprofit groups (Barket donates a percentage to a cause the group sponsors). Custom quotes available for special projects.

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