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About Joe Ortiz

Joe Ortiz’s first book, The Village Baker, published in 1993 by Ten Speed Press in Berkeley, was nominated for the prestigious Julia Child Cookbook Award. Since then he has co-authored three other books, The Village Baker’s Wife, Shakespeare On Golf and The Gardener’s Table. Joe has also published bread, food, and travel articles in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Cooks Illustrated and Organic Gardening. His feature article “Supercharge Your Creativity” appeared in Writer’s Digest in August of 2006.


In 2001 Joe wrote and produced the full-length stage production, Bread! – The Musical. In 2002 he created and produced a series of cabaret acts, including Smoke, which were based around his original songs. The show ran for 30 performances over a nine month period at Michael’s On Main Restaurant in Soquel.


After the success of Ortiz’s 2010 cabaret show Smoke, starring Lori Rivera, Joe was looking for another vehicle for his star. He resurrected the idea of his family story and it became Escaping Queens.  By late 2011, Cabrillo Stage, a regional musical theatre company, was interested in producing a full production of Escaping Queens for their 2012 season.  The premiere of the show, in summer 2012, was such a hit at the box office and with audiences that Cabrillo Stage brought it back for their 2013 season. Continuing to refine the libretto, the show has gone on to be produced in San Francisco and New York City.


Joe studied jazz piano for more than fifteen years and played in rock and country bands, as well as folk combos, on and off, for the past 30 years. He and his wife Gayle, own Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola, CA.


Joe and Gayle received the 2016 Gail Rich Award for contribution to the arts in Santa Cruz County.



Photo by r.r. jones

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