Show 431, June 26, 2021: Dr. Shica Little, Dr. Shica’s Bakery, Westfield Culver City Part One

Doctor Shica Little of Dr Shica's Bakery

Dr. Shica Little, known to many as “Southern Sweet Maker to the Stars” as she channels her love of baking and her Southern upbringing into her signature Southern sweets and custom creations, is now showcasing her Southern hospitality at her first official Dr. Shica’s Bakery retail bakery location at Westfield Culver City which opened last month. Her irresistible treats are brownies, cookies, cakes and custom creations.”

“Dr. Shica has always enjoyed her small bakery business as a fun side project in hopes that one day it would grow beyond her home kitchen. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, Dr. Shica, a Doctor of Education and college professor in the educational services industry was laid off from her corporate job and she knew right then that it was time to turn her dream into a reality, so she created Dr. Shica’s Bakery online in Los Angeles.”

“Delivering comfort in a Bakery Box became Dr. Shica’s sole mission as everyone was trying their best to adjust to life in lockdown. Dr. Shica also discovered that growing a small business during a pandemic is chock-full of challenges and Dr Shica’s Bakery was faced with operational restrictions, slow supply lines, and a customer base with a much less disposable income, but Dr. Shica and her small team continued to push forward to overcome these challenges and they continued to deliver her delicious Southern sweets all-across the country during a most challenging time.”

“This past year Dr. Shica started selling her Red Velvet Cake (her mom’s special recipe) and her Brownies at a pop-up shop in a soul food restaurant on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. This gained the attention of several Hollywood executives who instantly became huge fans of Dr. Shica’s Desserts, especially her brownies, giving them their name: Almost Famous Brownies. Word started spreading quickly and Dr. Shica began delivering her Bakery Boxes all over the city.”

“She then got a call from Oprah Magazine as they had heard about her desserts and Oprah and Gayle loved her cookies, and Dr. Shica’s Bakery was in the top three on Oprah’s Favorite Things out of 15,000 entries. She was then featured as a Black small business owner on GMA, and her Gourmet Dessert Boxes were featured on Tory Johnson’s ‘Deals and Steals, bringing a tremendous amount of visibility and recognition to Dr. Shica’s Bakery just after its inception.”

“Dr. Shica’s Bakery creates gourmet, Southern-style desserts using only the freshest premium ingredients. Dr. Shica also knew she wanted to expand her baked goods to meet the growing demand for vegan treats, so she developed and is introducing a new line of mouth-watering, plant-based Vegan Desserts that satisfy those sweet cravings and allow her plant-based customers to maintain their vegan lifestyles all while continuing to indulge and enjoy.”

“Reinventing her family’s recipes, Dr. Shica brings old favorites into the modern era featuring desserts with the taste of home and the sophistication of a gourmet bakery, including Signature Sweets such as Dr. Shica’s CookiesSprinkle Delight, Hot Chocolate, Gigi’s Chocolate Chip, Vegan Chocolate Chunk, Lemon Drop, Red Velvet; CakeDebra’s Red Velvet Cake; BrowniesAlmost Famous Brownies; full line of Vegan DessertsVegan Almost Famous Brownies, Vegan Cookies, Vegan Red Velvet Cake, and Signature Boxes including Dr. Shica’s Spring Gift Box, Gourmet Dessert Box, Vegan Gourmet Dessert Boxes, and Traditional and Vegan Birthday Boxes. Also, not to be missed are Dr. Shica’s Custom Creations as Dr. Shica’s Bakery will bring joy to any celebration and if you dream it, they will make it!”

Dr. Shica joins us with whisk in hand.

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Show 431, June 26, 2021: Dr. Shica Little, Dr. Shica’s Bakery, Westfield Culver City Part Two

Doctor Shica Little of Dr Shica's Bakery

Dr. Shica Little, known to many as “Southern Sweet Maker to the Stars” as she channels her love of baking and her Southern upbringing into her signature Southern sweets and custom creations, is now showcasing her Southern hospitality at her first official Dr. Shica’s Bakery retail bakery location at Westfield Culver City which opened last month. Her irresistible treats are brownies, cookies, cakes and custom creations.”

“Dr. Shica has always enjoyed her small bakery business as a fun side project in hopes that one day it would grow beyond her home kitchen. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, Dr. Shica, a Doctor of Education and college professor in the educational services industry was laid off from her corporate job and she knew right then that it was time to turn her dream into a reality, so she created Dr. Shica’s Bakery online in Los Angeles.”

“Dr. Shica’s Bakery creates gourmet, Southern-style desserts using only the freshest premium ingredients. Dr. Shica also knew she wanted to expand her baked goods to meet the growing demand for vegan treats, so she developed and is introducing a new line of mouth-watering, plant-based Vegan Desserts that satisfy those sweet cravings and allow her plant-based customers to maintain their vegan lifestyles all while continuing to indulge and enjoy.”

“Reinventing her family’s recipes, Dr. Shica brings old favorites into the modern era featuring desserts with the taste of home and the sophistication of a gourmet bakery, including Signature Sweets such as Dr. Shica’s CookiesSprinkle Delight, Hot Chocolate, Gigi’s Chocolate Chip, Vegan Chocolate Chunk, Lemon Drop, Red Velvet; CakeDebra’s Red Velvet Cake; BrowniesAlmost Famous Brownies; full line of Vegan DessertsVegan Almost Famous Brownies, Vegan Cookies, Vegan Red Velvet Cake, and Signature Boxes including Dr. Shica’s Spring Gift Box, Gourmet Dessert Box, Vegan Gourmet Dessert Boxes, and Traditional and Vegan Birthday Boxes. Also, not to be missed are Dr. Shica’s Custom Creations as Dr. Shica’s Bakery will bring joy to any celebration and if you dream it, they will make it!”

Dr. Shica joins us with whisk in hand.

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Show 413, February 20, 2021: Trevor Faris, Proprietor, Hank’s Bagels – Sherman Oaks & Burbank

Trevor Faris of Hanks Bagels

We’re bagel obsessed in Southern California so a new, independent bagel shop really needs to stand out to get attention in an already crowded and highly discriminating marketplace. Hank’s Bagels (Hank’s…a deli of sorts) is the creation of Chef Trevor Faris and the original, tiny Burbank location opened without fanfare in late 2019. 

His hand-rolled bagels and spreads, along with a full menu of mouth-watering bagel sandwiches earned early word-of-mouth fame. Many days they sold out of bagels by the early afternoon. Demand has been so great that Chef Trevor opened a much larger, commissary location on Ventura Blvd. late last year to keep up. Chefs rave about these bagels and sandwiches.

The assortment of handmade bagels includes plain, poppy, sesame, salt, cinnamon raisin, onion, rosemary sea salt and everything. Spreads range from Scallion to Vegan Cream Cheese plus Lox. A popular Bagel Sandwich is the No. 2 with crispy fried egg, braised greens, gruyere, pickled peppers and aioli.

Chef Travis joins us with the bagel briefing.

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Show 339, August 31, 2019: Cookie Good’s Co-Founder & Baker, Ross Canter Part One

Ross Canter of Cookie Good“You know that feeling when you take your first bite of a cookie? When you crunch through that crisp exterior and get to the chewy often chocolaty center; when the buttery, slightly salty sweetness hits your tongue? It’s just an instant but suddenly your brain is flooded, senses over-loaded and without even being aware, you find yourself smiling. That’s what we call feeling “Cookie Good”.”

“We take that feeling one step further, working hard to make cookies that not only taste amazing but also feed your soul; that make you remember something wonderful – the gooey, toasted, marshmallowy treat you ate around a campfire, that favorite childhood cereal you only got when your dad went to the market, your grandmother’s once-a-year-apple pie…Cookie Good: it’s how you wanna feel.”

“After a few years of baking thousands of cookies at home with only a 6-quart mixer and a single oven, we decided to move to a commercial kitchen. In just 5 hours a day, 4 days a week, we baked and baked and baked. As the business grew, we knew it was finally time to take the biggest leap of all – building our own bakery. We found the perfect spot in Santa Monica – a small, 1930s brick building right across the street from a park with palm trees, lawn bowling, and a duck pond.”

Cookie Good’s (Santa Monica) Co-Founder & Baker Ross Canter joins us with all the sweet details.

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Show 333, July 20, 2019: Betty Porto, Vice President, Community Relations, Porto’s Bakery & Cafe

Betty Porto in front of the Porto's Bakery Bread RackPorto’s Bakery & Café started modestly in the greater L.A. area in the 1960s and has grown steadily since then becoming a popular, local institution. Founder Rosa Porto’s life took an unexpected turn back then when she and her family made the difficult decision to leave their beloved Cuba and emigrate to the United States. Out of a job, Rosa relied on her love of baking and began selling cakes out of her house for her neighbors and friends to support her family.

Porto’s has gradually (and deliberately) grown into five existing locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, Buena Park, and the newly opened West Covina. Northridge is on the horizon.

“Rosa’s recipes and high standards continue to be carried on by her family, reflective of her motto “quality is the number one ingredient in everything we do”.”

Newly launched from Porto’s is “We Make It, You Bake It.” Also known as Porto’s Bake at Home.

“We now ship nationwide our best-selling pastries unbaked, frozen, and direct to you so you can bake them fresh in your own oven! It’s like having a Porto’s Bakery in your home! Congrats, you are now a Porto’s Pastry Chef. Feel free to take all the credit.”

The initial menu is Potato Balls, Guava Strudel, Chicken Empanadas, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cheese Rolls, Guava & Cheese Strudel, Meat Pies, Sprinkledoodle Cookies and Dulce de Leche Bestio Cookies.

Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations for Porto’s is our guest.

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Show 316, March 23, 2019: Phoenix Bakery with 2nd Generation Baker, Youlen Chan, L.A.’s Chinatown Part One

Youlen Chan at the AM830 KLAA StudiosFamous for their fresh strawberry whipped cream cake, almond and butterfly cookies and the unusual watermelon pastries, Phoenix Bakery has been artfully creating delectable cakes and pastries since 1938.

Founded by, and still operated by the Chan Family, their little Chinese bakery serves families and celebrities alike for all occasions. It’s one of the five-original business operating in L.A.’s historic Chinatown. They celebrated their 80th Anniversary last August.

Baker (and Family Member) Youlen Chan frosts the cake for us.

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Show 316, March 23, 2019: Phoenix Bakery with 2nd Generation Baker, Youlen Chan, L.A.’s Chinatown Part Two

Youlen Chan“Founded in 1938, the idea behind Chinatown’s landmark Phoenix Bakery was to create a gathering place for the community producing traditional Chinese pastries and cookies not found locally. At the time, Chinatown was truly the place where Chinese immigrants came together and the iconic architecture and plazas were opening.”

“Using generation-old recipes, the Chan family’s first bakery highlighted their almond cookies. Founders, F.C. Chan and his wife were proud to offer the treats to everyone. Soon thereafter, F.C.’s brother, Lun joined the bakery and their trademark fresh strawberry whipped cream cake became part of the offerings.”

“It wasn’t until the 1970s, however that Phoenix Bakery became famous throughout Los Angeles for being a little Chinese bakery making a “not so Chinese” cake. With business flourishing, in 1977, the Chan family moved from Chinatown’s Central Plaza to a custom-built bakery on Broadway that remains their current location today.”

“Catering both to the local population celebrating birthdays and to the thriving businesses operating downtown, Phoenix Bakery cakes started becoming traditions. Lun’s son, Youlen eventually took over production and Phoenix Bakery continued to thrive as he expanded the offerings of sweets and confections.”

Youlen Chan continues…

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Show 200, December 3, 2016: Jean-Jacques Granet, Executive Pastry Chef, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula

Jean Jacques GranetThe Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula has a long Holiday tradition of baking and decorating eye-catching gingerbread houses for sale at a very reasonable price until Christmas to their appreciative guests.

“This holiday season, housing starts inside of one southern California casino/resort will more than double after last year’s sales numbers topped expectations. Pechanga Resort & Casino’s in-house bakery team is preparing, constructing and decorating hand-crafted gingerbread houses and offering them to prospective buyers at a nominal cost for home ownership. These units, which may be purchased individually or several at a time to create neighborhood continuity, come fully loaded and turnkey for gift giving, or for hanging onto for one’s own sweet tooth satisfying gratification.”

“Those looking for a brand new gingerbread home can find them in easily accessed locations at the 24-hour Caffe Cocoa inside the popular Temptations Food Walk at Pechanga or at Blends Coffee & Wine Bar just inside the Pechanga Hotel Lobby. Each home features distinct décor and amenities such as hand-drawn insulation (icing) and real curb appeal with colorful holiday sweet treats lining the outside. If buyers are careful transporting the homes, no insurance is required, property tax is waived and goodwill equity can be earned by giving one of the Pechanga gingerbread homes to someone else. These handmade gingerbread houses come in 10-inch by six-inch floor plan for $35. They will be on the market until Christmas, or until all units have been snapped up by buyers.”

The annual Chocolate Decadence Festival is coming up of Friday evening, February 10, 2016.

Pechanga’s acclaimed Executive Pastry Chef, Jean-Jacques Granet (he has worked on three continents) joins us with all the sweet details.

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Show 184, August 13, 2016: Sherry Villanueva, Acme Hospitality, Helena Avenue Bakery, Santa Barbara

Sherry VillanuevaNewly launched in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone is Acme Hospitality’s (The Lark, Lucky Penny, Les Marchands and Santa Barbara Wine Collective) Helena Avenue Bakery. It’s primarily a small-production, wholesale bakery operation but the proudly, from-scratch operation features a small retail counter open to the public daily from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

“It’s exciting to see the growth in high quality businesses opening up in the Funk Zone. The need for a wholesome bakery that appeals to people of all ages became quite clear to us as the neighborhood continues to unfold,” states Sherry Villanueva. “Having a bakery was a logical progression for us. The key ingredient was putting together the right talent, and we have a passionate and talented team. We’ve been serving the donuts, bagels, scones, muffins and cookies at Lucky Penny for several months now and they’ve been a huge hit.”

The bakery allows visitors to observe the chefs at work as they hand-shape baguettes, breads and pastries behind over-sized glass walls. The bakers’ ovens and state-of-the art equipment are exposed to the public, integrating modern machinery into the original architecture of the notable warehouse.

The entrance to the bakery is accessed through a shared door of the Santa Barbara Wine Collective. As guests enter, they are greeted by the inviting Picnic Counter which serves as the local shop for artfully displayed breads, pastries, sandwiches and salads prepared fresh daily.

Acme Hospitality’s Sherry Villanueva joins us.

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Show 176, June 18, 2016: Chef Maeve Rochford, Sugar and Scribe, La Jolla, CA

Mauve Rochford“Be Sweet. Be Tempted.”

Chef Maeve Rochford is the proprietress of the ever-popular Sugar & Scribe Bakery Café in La Jolla. She is also the winner of Food Network’s “Holiday Baking Championship” and the cool $50,000 cash prize. Chef Maeve is our guest.

“Born an only child in Cincinnati, Ohio to an Irish-born mother and third generation German Father, Maeve’s life was destined to be greatly influenced by food! She attended an all-girls high school, St. Ursula Academy, and rowed her way into college. After graduating from Boston University on a rowing scholarship, Maeve started her career quest!”

“After college Maeve struggled to settle on a direction. She checked out a few career paths in NYC and then spent several months in South Africa. While cooking dinner for the family she was living with in Walvis Bay, it finally became clear: “I’M A CHEF!” Looking back, Maeve realized she had been on this path since she was two. She moved to Los Angeles and landed her first job as a private chef. It was Maeve’s husband’s career that brought her to San Diego.”

“With the move, Maeve started all over again, but this time she followed her passion, threw caution to the wind, and in the middle of a major recession, opened Sugar and Scribe, a small upscale bakery in Pacific Beach on a shoestring budget. Sugar and Scribe launched in November 2010. The current Sugar and Scribe location opened in La Jolla in February of 2015.”

“Maeve’s love of food and the memories that great foods inspire drive her to create morsels of excellence every day. “I think my keen understanding of flavor combinations comes from mixing leftovers, never being afraid of food and loving the experience of cooking. When I’m happy, I eat. When I’m sad, I eat. When I’m angry, I eat. So it’s important to have great food for every emotion!””

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