Durga’s Divine Café
All organic with a side of love and light
Julie Roberts is on a mission. She, like many people, had become increasingly distressed seeing the growing negative political climate and the fracture that had caused in the community, and was tired of feeling powerless to do anything about it. So she decided to take what she does best, cooking delicious, organic foods, and turn it into a way to nourish the community. And Durga’s Divine Café was born.
“I wanted to provide a space that was a bubble of light where people could feel uplifted,” Roberts said. “I see serving food as serving energy. I want people to come in and feel fed on all levels – body, mind, and spirit.”
A graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute, a culinary school in New York City which she attended after she earned a degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont, Roberts was trained to cook in a way that is sustainable and healthy as well as good for the planet. She brings this philosophy into every menu item that she creates for Durga’s Divine Café, from the soups and salads to the sandwiches, casseroles, and other delectable dishes that she serves up. Everything (except the mayo) is house made, even the Chai tea, and everything is organic. The coffee served is Vaneli’s Handcrafted Coffee, which is located in Rocklin and Rainforest Alliance Network certified. Eventually Roberts will also add a selection of loose teas.
Roberts continues her quest to be “green” beyond the kitchen, as well, composting any organic waste, which she gives to a local farm to nourish the soil. “I love to cook, and I strive to make everything I do in this business a reflection of my principles,” Roberts said. “My goal is to be as sustainable as possible and to support the community and the land.”
In addition to savory items, the café also offers a variety of delicious sweet treats made daily by baker Dena Macklin, who most recently ran the prestigious Power’s Mansion Inn Tea Time in Auburn. Macklin stays true to the all-organic and local when possible philosophy in her creations, and the love baked in to each item can be tasted in every bite.
If the name Durga’s sounds familiar, it’s probably because you have seen (or tasted) some of the Durga’s Delights salsas, hummus, or pesto at local stores, including BriarPatch Co-Op, California Organics, SPD, and other locations in Auburn. The line, which Roberts began seven years ago, is so named because the original hummus recipe came from her friend Durga Smallen, and Roberts wanted to ensure that her contribution was honored in perpetuity.
The café had a “soft opening” on November 1, and has already gained a following from great word of mouth. Roberts is quick to share the credit for the business’s early (and surely continued) success with the many friends and family members who have helped to make her dream a reality. This includes her mom, who passed away a year and a half ago but who Roberts feels is cheering her on from “the other side,” as well as her father who is cheering her on from the other side of the country. She is also incredibly grateful for the constant supportive texts, emails, phone conversations and help with her three teenaged children that her in laws Carol and Gary have given, and her husband Craig’s endlessly long hours helping with the remodel as well as his enthusiastic moral support. “The support that I have received is really what’s made this whole project doable,” Roberts explained. “This cafe would still be only a “maybe one day…” idea without their love, enthusiasm and support. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to make a go of an all organic cafe.”
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