Chiisai Cakes: Breaking The Mold
Robert Shindo started his culinary journey when he was 16. He was worked in a variety of restaurants, filling any and all restaurant jobs you can think of. He is currently the General Manager of two restaurants while owning his own business, Chiisai Cakes.
Family is–and has always been—at the heart of his culinary interest.
“Growing up always seeing my Grandparents and my parents cooking delicious meals always intrigued me. It was fascinating to me, watching them put all of these ingredients together, that made no sense to me, then getting the mouth watering aromas in the air, then seeing the finished product that just made my taste buds go wild. I have always been into some type of art my whole life, such as TRYING to draw, breakdancing, tattoos and so on. Expressing myself through art is how I have been my whole life, I am able to share my story and feeling visually instead of verbally,” shares Robert.
His current business, Chiisai Cakes was his mother and brother’s side business four years ago, making cupcakes and nigiri (sushi) looking desserts. They stopped the business a couple years after and Robert decided to bring it back but with his own flair.
“I decided I wanted to bring back Chiisai Cakes but with my own flavor put to it. Also, a lot of people did not even know that I was into baking, everyone knew that I loved to cook, however, baking was my little secret and it was time to share my creations with everyone. One of my main things that inspired me is wanting to promote the saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I am almost fully tattooed, I do not dress like a normal Chef/baker (normally in shorts or sweats with knee high socks, a black t-shirt, hat or beanie), not the typical checkered pants and chef coat.”
A lot of experimentation with ingredients, trial and error, as well as many long nights go into his baking process. He truly pours his heart and soul in all his creations. He is currently working on adding new Japanese desserts to the menu since there aren’t many places in the San Fernando Valley creating or selling them. Just like his creations, Robert breaks the conventional mold of how a chef or baker should look like. And it’s usually an eye opening experience for his customers.
When asked what his vision for Chiisai Cakes is, he says, “To be honest, in the beginning of starting Chiisai Cakes, I wanted to do what most small business owners want to do and continue to grow to open your own store front. However, it would be nice if it does happen, but I am content with continuing to grow and expand to just show the world my creations and make everyone’s taste buds and stomachs happy.”
His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? “Just do what makes you happy and don’t let other people’s judgment affect what you are doing. You know yourself better than anyone, just follow what you know is right for you. It is not easy work, but in the end it is 100% worth it. And make sure to learn balance between work and your personal life, you need to make sure you take care of yourself, mentally and physically. “
To grab a taste of Robert’s creations, visit the website. You can also follow him on Instagram @chiisai.cakes.