A Little Something Sweet is a home based bakery (for now!) that I started out of my house back in 2009 after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, in New York. At first it was just a fun hobby that I got to goof around with and make some cakes, now it is a full scale bakery where I get to take the customer's ideas and turn them into a sugar filled reality! I specializes in making everything from the simple scooped cookies, to elaborate dessert bars, celebration cakes, wedding cakes and 3D sculpted cakes.
My passion is in the details and I believe that the sweet treats leaving my kitchen should taste as good as they look. After all, they are desserts and are meant to be enjoyed, not just looked at!
I fell in love with baking when I was 3. My mom embraced my desire to play in my play kitchen and let me play in the grown up kitchen making cookies and gingerbread houses. Every summer my sister and I would go to our Grandparent's house in Sacramento, during the height of wild blackberry season. They lived in a more rural area and there were wild blackberry bushes all up and down the streets by their house. We would get dressed up in my grandpa's shirts because we were so small they were like dresses, and my grandma didn't want us to mess up our clothes - because blackberry's stain and the bushes are clothes ripping prickly! We would pick the blackberries, and probably eat more on the walk than we brought home, but we would always end up making something from scratch with them and then give some away the neighbors, because there was always enough to share! My grandmother is from Malta (a little tiny island off the boot of Italy) so everything is 100% from scratch and it was the best way to fall in love with baking!
My parents were crazy supportive and would let me experiment and bake all the time (they still are crazy supportive and are the best cheerleaders, free labor, and support staff anyone could ask for!). I grew up in an area where there were tons of kids all the same age, so our house was the hang out spot because they knew there would be experimental treats! Sometimes, they were not the greatest cookies or pies in the world, but it did help me learn and perfect a lot of the recipes I still use today.
In high school I took a bunch of baking classes through career colleges and the decorating classes through the local craft stores. I couldn't get enough - so I decided I was going to Culinary School! Part of the requirements to get into the Culinary Institute of America is to have work experience so, I got a job at French's Bakery in Mission Viejo working in the front of the house, and then got a job at Black Forest Bakery in Lake Forest working both in the front and in the back.
I went to college at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. It was the most incredible experience and I am truly blessed to have been able to attend what my mom calls the "Harvard of Pie Crust". At the time they offered 2 types of degrees (associates degrees and bachelors degrees) in 2 fields (culinary and baking and pastry) meaning the baking and pastry associates degree I got was a full baking and pastry specific immersion with 3 weeks of basic culinary knowledge. The bachelors in Hotel and Hospitality Management is a business style degree with everything revolving around the food and beverage field, so instead of taking Calculus and generic accounting - I took culinary and business math and accounting for restaurants and businesses.
I did an internship during college in Florida at Disney's Contemporary Resort (it is the hotel next to the Magic Kingdom that the monorail goes through the middle of). The bakery department was in the basement, and they produced the desserts and treats for all 5 of the different restaurants along with banquets and room service. I loved learning and am so grateful for the experience, but one of the most important lessons I learned is I don't love mass quantity repetition, so hotels were not going to be my end destination.
I then moved back to Orange County after college - and started a Little Something Sweet while working full time at a local Starbucks (I worked at Starbucks through college because the hours were flexible - and they have AMAZING benefits - and it was an easy transfer when I moved back home...). A Little Something Sweet was a hobby at that point, with me making cakes for my friends and coworkers to grow my portfolio and practice, and I loved every minute of it! I knew this was the end goal.
I went of vacation to Asheville, North Carolina to visit some friends from college and fell in love with the area and the Biltmore Estate. Next thing you know on my vacation I am going to a job interview, and getting a job offer to move within 1 month. Crazy! I moved to North Carolina and worked in the Biltmore Estate's Bistro Restaurant, which is their fine dining winery restaurant. I learned so much and loved almost everything about it, except I missed getting to be creative and getting to know each individual client, so I got a job at a cafe and then I re-opened A Little Something Sweet and got a small storefront location with a local lady who sold pie. It was a big learning adventure - and taught me a lot about what my what personal customer service values are, and how being in business with someone who doesn't share the same values won't work.
I decided to move back to Orange County (again!) and that is when the cottage kitchen law had just taken effect allowing me to open my business from home legally. Now, it has gone from a fun hobby of doing a couple cakes a month to a full business where we do 10-15 events per weekend (depending on the size of the events) and I love every minute of it! I love getting to know my clients, and making their event a little bit sweeter! I love getting to make their vision come to life, and taking the little extra time to make sure that whatever it is they are ordering has the detail level to make it match their event perfectly, and make the dessert not only tasty, but a decorative centerpiece for their event.
I can honestly say, been incredibly blessed in all the opportunities have had, all of the learning lessons I have experienced, and all of the people I have met along this journey, and I can't wait to share my passion for sweets with you!