Barbara Vybiralova was born in communist Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1976. During communist times no one was allowed to leave the country for a vacation, and virtually no one had “nice” things. There weren’t 100 perfumes to choose from, there were two. Foods we take for granted like bananas or oranges were only available at Christmas, and hardly anyone ate out in restaurants. After the revolution in 1989, everything changed; they could travel, see, do and buy new things. But instead of becoming like another Germany, the Czech Republic became rife with corruption, lying, bribing and cheating. Barbara studied to be a gold smith, but earning $150 a month was not enough to live on. She tried other jobs, like working in her sister’s fitness studio, but never found anything she was truly passionate about.
Barbara met her husband Mirek when she was 26 years old, and both concluded the Czech Republic was no place to raise children. They decided to move to New Zealand, stopping to visit friends in California on the way. They ended up staying for three years. As a youngster, Barbara was required to help her mother cook for the family. She carried out that tradition in her Woodland Hills studio apartment, making meals for her husband. Their 70 year old landlord stopped by daily to see what was cooking and get a taste. He loved Barbara’s food and encouraged her to sell it, but Barbara never considered cooking a career; it was just something she did or had to do.
Never planning to settle in California, Barbara & Mirek returned to Prague, but realized from day one that it wasn’t for them. They began to plan their return to the United States, filed the necessary paperwork to immigrate legally and researched cities. They concluded Portland was the place to be, and in 2009 moved here with just two suitcases. Their son was born in 2010.
Anyone who knows Barbara knows about her potato salad. Whenever there’s a barbecue or a pot luck, everyone begs for Barbara’s potato salad. The more Barbara resisted making more, the greater the demand became. She has finally stopped fighting her fate, realized she’s meant to cook for a living and started a business called “Bohemian
Gourmet Food” (www.bohemiangourmetfood.com). Through that website and the farmer’s markets in Hillsboro, Tanesbourne and Orenco, Barbara sells her potato salad, schnitzel and many other dishes and cakes. She caters private events as well. She tells us she’s happy to leave the cooking to us this month!
Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich
breaded & pan-fried boneless chicken cutlet on a fleur de lis bakery potato roll with Barbara’s special tartar sauce, lettuce & tomato, served with a side of Barbara’s potato salad (with yukon gold potatoes, peas, ham, onions, house-made mayonnaise & other tasty ingredients)
pounded & breaded boneless chicken breast, pan-fried & served Barbara’s special potato salad (with yukon gold potatoes, peas, ham, onions, house-made mayonnaise & other tasty ingredients)
Smoked Pork & Cabbage Gnocchi
hand-made potato dumplings, tossed with slow-cooked smoked ham& braised sweet & sour green cabbage, topped with crispy onions
Barbara’s Marble Cake
fresh-baked chocolate and vanilla cake with house-made vanilla fudge ripple ice cream, dark and white chocolate sauces