1832 – 1943
As she ventured on a wagon-train with her belongings and her mother’s recipes, she is where our history begins. But we do know that some of these recipes date back further than the 1830’s (as they did belong to her mother and her grandmother).
We will start our history with Elizabeth Murphy-Arthur. In talking about Elizabeth Arthur, Belle Arthur, was the daughter-in-law of Elizabeth and said that she was a very nice person. She never swore, and when she got mad she would always say "Oh Sugar tit!", Elizabeth was very much Irish as her mother and father came from Ireland. Belle said that Elizabeth was a first or second cousin to Jessie James. Elizabeth told her a story that once, when her wagon had broken down Jessie came riding up. He had just robbed someone and was in a hurry. He asked Elizabeth what was the matter? She told him the wheel on the wagon had broken. He said he couldn't stop right now as he was in a hurry, but he would send someone to assist. One of the reasons she remembered this incident was because Jessie had a large bolt of calico cloth across his saddle and a good portion of it was unwound and trailing behind the horse.
After working on the Arthur Ranch as the head baker and cook, she married Ben Arthur and they had a daughter, Nancy Arthur in 1869.
Nancy Sophia “Minnie” Arthur-Crabtree
1869 – 1954
Nancy Arthur-Hess was the eldest of five children. She started to work in 1883 at the age of fourteen, for Powerhouse Gas & Electric as the baker & cook for the employees of the company. This picture was taken later of “Minnie” standing in front of Camp 27 in Trinidad, California. It has been documented that she used her mother’s grandmother and great grandmother's recipes to aid in preparing those meals.
On August 5, 1883 in Blocksburg, Humboldt County, California; Nancy marries Albert Henry Crabtree.
Nancy and Albert have their first son, Benjamin Arthur Crabtree in 1885; their second son was born in 1888 and finally a daughter, my Great Grandmother, Hazel Dean Crabtree in January of 1891
1891 – 1978
Hazel Crabtree-Essig-Wilson, pictured here at the age of 15 in front of Camp 29 where she prepared the meals for the same company as her mother, at Powerhouse Gas & Electric north of Eureka, California. When she was 16 a little company called Pacific Gas & Electric bought Powerhouse Gas & Electric.
Hazel Crabtree married Sam Essig and she had two children, Clara & Mable. Eventually she moved to southern California where she worked for See’s Candies (which is where she got the idea to make our Chocolate Frosting). When you taste it, you will think... "This reminds me of something, I just can't put my finger on it". Amazing, we have been known just to sell the frosting by itself, it is that good. Later she went to work as the lead baker at the Hotel Constance. Later, yet, she opened her own restaurant.
How can a person communicate to our customers and our community how much this Great Grandmother meant to me, Lisa Brighton? She was my everything, I loved and respected how much she taught me, which were some of the most important things about life. We use to sleep together in her big king size bed and she would tell me stories of when she was a little girl. I loved her stories.
1909 - 1993
Hazel's daughter, my grandmother, Mable, was also a baker and cook like her mother, her grandmother and great grandmother. Later she was recruited & worked for the Valley Hunt Club in Altadena. In 1931 she was sent to the Casino on Catalina Island where she was part of that original team that brought food into the Casino. After she was finished working, she was known to dance the night away with the likes of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Fred Astair, & other entertainers of that “Golden Age of Hollywood” era from the 1930’s through the mid 1940’s.
1930 - 2019
My mother, Alice, pictured here in 1946 in front of her parents, my grandparents’ restaurant which was called the “Students Inn Café” in Fortuna, California. My mother learned from the best to cook/bake from her Great-Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Arthur; her Great Grandmother, Nancy "Minnie" Arthur Hess; her Grandmother, Hazel Hess-Crabtree-Wilson and her mother, Mable Crabtree-Thomas. It just doesn't get any better than this.
Pictured here with my mother, in 1958, it is at this age I made my first peach cobbler with my Great Grandmother (Hazel Wilson, whom I lived with... along with my mother, Alice from the time I was three until I was five, then spent every summer with until I was thirteen; whereupon she moved from Altadena to our city in Santa Cruz, CA. My Great Grandmother Wilson would have me push a chair (so I could climb-up) to the spice-cabinet, which was above the breakfast table, she said now "notice how the spices are kept... in alphabetical order this is so you can find them easier the next time you need them". This is how I began learning my alphabet. Allspice, Basil, Bay Leaves…
Five years after getting married Walter and Lisa Brighton had their first daughter, Stephanie, in 1978.
In 1983 we see (pictured above) Stephanie assisting her Mom make Sweet N' Sour Meatballs. Stephanie was the family's latest bloomer within the baking world, she didn’t start baking until she was five years old. At this age, Stephanie was assisting Mom in the kitchen with everything from cleaning out the tips from the pastry bags to the numerous cakes her mother (Lisa) was making. She also wanted to learn to make a complete dinner on her own. It was during this time she and her imagination produced some fabulous and some "not" so fabulous dishes such as raw peeled potatoes with green Jell-O on top. Hence, this is how we learn. Both her father and I would not have missed this for the world.
Connie follows six and half years later. Their girls (Walter & Lisa's), as in generations past, took early on into working their way in and around the kitchen. Pictured here in 1988 at 3 years old, is little Connie Brighton, making a salad for the family dinner. Little did we realize at that time; Connie would be the Executive Baker at Starz Cupcakes. She was and has been a natural in the kitchen. Her ingenuity has taken our recipes by far into the numerous flavors we have today. Our family history may have been the launching pad, but her drive and dedication has taken this beyond our expectations. One would almost think it was in her DNA.
Robbie & Michael Garcia
A new generation is showing signs of wanting to learn their way in and around the kitchen.
The year is 2009, Starz Cupcakes opens their doors, Stephanie's sons (Walter & Lisa Brighton's grandsons / Connie & Travis's nephew's); Robbie Christopher, age five and Michael Edward, age three are already volunteering to be the official "tasters" for Starz Cupcakes.
It is now 2021, we moved from Santa Cruz, CA to the San Joaquin Valley where we have moved away from our "brick and mortar" stores.
We are respecting the "social distancing" which is required as we make it through this pandemic and taking orders via Facebook, text message, and
Michael is making his first preparation in the kitchen for the Riverbank Cheese & Wine Festival on October 8th (preparation day) 9th - 10th, 2021 at the age of fifteen.