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Inspiring Conversations with Robert Shindo of Chiisai Cakes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Robert Shindo.

Hi Robert, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I am a fourth-generation (Yonsei) Japanese-American born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I grew up with a very loving and caring family, my parents (Rick and Robin) run their own electrical company, Shindo Electric and my older brother (Brandon) recently started his own therapy business with his partner Kaelly, K and B Therapy. When I was younger, I didn’t want to go to college, I kept telling my Mom that I was just going to take over their business. My Mom told me that she did not want me to go that route and she would like me to go to college. After years and years of her denying me of taking over the family business, I decided I wanted to go to Culinary School.

I have been in the Culinary Industry for the past 15 years. I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Management from The Art Institute of California. Food & desserts have always been a passion of mine with desserts being like a piece of artwork. I have done every position you can think of in the Culinary Industry. I started off as a dishwasher then to line cook, from delivery driver to server & from Manager to General Manager.

I created Chiisai Cakes to let people know that you should never judge a book by its cover. I strive on expressing myself through food creations, as well as through my tattoos. I am judged & labeled often as a “BAD” individual. “Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover” is a quote I will always follow for the rest of my life, due to me being heavily tattooed and the way I dress, I tend to get judged a lot. But if certain people would just have a conversation with me, I am just a goofball that loves to make people smile and their stomach happy. My dessert creations tell a story of passion and all the love I put towards it. My artwork on my body tells a story of family…my family. It is with their continuous support that I have dedicated myself to work hard & strive toward my goals. & now my goals are coming to life.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
To be completely honest, there were many struggles along the way, from doubting myself and feeling like I didn’t even want to be in the culinary industry anymore to just being completely exhausted. Currently, I am the General Manager of two restaurants (working around 80 hours a week) and while working my normal job, I am working on starting Chiisai Cakes. However, balance is key, I have taught myself to do my regular job, along with doing all my orders and cooking for my business, while still taking care of my mental and physical health. I like challenges, so I always put myself up to one. So, for now, I am a one man team (creating, prepping, baking/cooking, packaging my desserts /being my own bookkeeper /marketing team).

As you know, we’re big fans of Chiisai Cakes. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Chiisai means little in Japanese. I create all my desserts to be more personal-sized. So if you are to order cookies from me each and every cookie is wrapped individually inside your box. I do not put preservatives inside the cookies, so I do bake to order. I like the desserts to be as fresh as possible for everyone. I also ship all over the country, shipping just depends on where you are located. However, I am only able to ship my cookies at the moment.

My set menu consists of:
Cookies (sold in half dozen or full dozen)
– Oreo Cheesecake
– Stuffed Red Velvet
– Salted Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
– Pineapple/Macadamia
– Cinnamon Waffle

Cookie Dough (sold in pints, so you can bake at home)
– Oreo Cheesecake
– Pineapple/Macadamia

Personal Dessert:
– Yuzu/Orange Creme Brûlée

I am currently working on expanding my menu. The set menu will be released next month.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
I love to work with anyone that wants to. You just have to message me on my Instagram or send me an email and we can work out the details together.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Robin Mooney of Robin Mooney Photography

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