One of the things I love about my job is meeting so many creative people.
Robert Blackshear is one of them.
He’s been in the fashion business since 1973 when he graduated from FIDM, only four years after the iconic fashion college opened its doors in DTLA. He ran his own fashion business for 23 years doing pattern grading, marking, and cutting. Then in 2000, he started teaching these subjects at his alma mater. He was just voted by his students to receive the Outstanding Faculty Award—but you’ll never guess what he’s been moonlighting as. A pastry chef!
Three years ago, he launched Eatmesweet with his mother-in-law’s rum cake recipe. The FIDM Cafe started carrying his baked goods and now they’re available exclusively at Sky’s Gourmet Marketplace at The Promenade Marina City Club Apartments in Marina del Rey. I caught up with him to find out more.
How did you get into the baking business? Baking my mother-in-law’s rum cake recipe.
What personality traits does a person need to be a successful entrepreneur? You need to be a people person. Stay focused on your objectives and follow through. Listen to your clients and realize that not everything you make is going to be a crowd pleaser.
Any advice for someone who wants to start their own small baking business? Take one day at a time and perfect your craft. Sometimes you only get one opportunity.
What’s your best seller? Brownies, by far, and lemon cake.
What is your favorite thing to make? My brownies and my cheesecakes.
What's the most difficult? Cookies are difficult. Getting the timing right can be tricky and vegan brownies are difficult because getting the texture correct can be challenging.
Where do you sell your baked goods? For two years I sold in the FIDM Cafe. Currently, I sell to Sky's Gourmet Marketplace in Marina del Rey.
What's your favorite bakery in Los Angeles? Hansen's Cakes and Porto's Bakery. They never disappoint. Totally consistent with quality.
Do you follow any pastry chefs on Instagram? Keith Wallace @pastrychefwallace
Follow Robert Blackshear on Instagram @artrobert11.