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Meet Romina Narang of Light and Healthy Desserts in Irvine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Romina Narang.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Romina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I had gestational diabetes during both my pregnancies. This meant cutting out desserts from my diet unless they were low carb, high fiber, low sugar, and made with natural ingredients. I absolutely love desserts and wanted to find a healthier way to eat them. I searched several bakeries to find such desserts but no one made them. The desserts labeled gluten free or sugar free at various stores tasted like cardboard and were inedible.

Around the same time, I also found that people were becoming more health conscious, trying to eat clean and exercise regularly. I saw friends and family struggle with various dietary restrictions such as gluten, dairy, egg, and soy intolerance. The more I researched, the more I realized that it was extremely difficult to find delicious tasting desserts to suit our changing lifestyles and dietary needs. At that point it was no longer only my problem. It was everyone’s problem!

I started experimenting in my kitchen, creating recipes to make desserts healthier and lighter. I researched healthier and more natural alternatives to ingredients that were generally used in desserts. I incorporated whole grains, unrefined sugars, non-hydrogenated oils, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables into various desserts. My family and friends loved the desserts and wanted more.

After several years of developing, testing and perfecting recipes, I got all the requisite licenses and permits allowing me to operate my cottage food bakery from home. Light and Healthy Desserts was finally launched in November 2014.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The beginning was quite tough and overwhelming. I was not targeting mainstream bakery clients, but a very niche group of people.

Finding those clients was my biggest challenge. Having no experience in the food industry, no marketing budget, and no knowledge of food photography, it was struggle to get the word out. Fortunately, I had a strong marketing background, a passion, a solid support system, and most importantly a product that no one else offered. I decided to focus on the few key elements crucial to my business.

In order to get the word out and get people to try my desserts, I offered samples wherever possible. Once people tried them, they almost always ordered. They started telling their friends & family and sharing on social media. Word of mouth became my biggest marketing tool.

I would talk to anyone who was willing to listen about my passion for making desserts healthier yet delicious, and people would get intrigued. They would want to order, ‘just to try’ as they said. Most of those people are still my clients and I am very thankful to them for giving me that chance three years ago!

People eat with their eyes! I knew that I had to learn food photography using a SLR camera, to provide eye-catching photographs to engage social media audience. I read books on food photography and signed up for online classes. Every night after the kids went to sleep I would take those classes. The next morning, I would practice photographing whatever I had baked that day. My food photography skills improved and I started getting more social media engagement. My photographs started getting noticed and have been featured on the Instagram pages of Food Network, the James Beard Foundation, Feedfeed, and Valrhona USA.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Light and Healthy Desserts – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Light and Healthy Desserts is a cottage food licensed artisanal home-based bakery in Irvine, Orange County. We specialize in healthy, gluten free, vegan, and eggless desserts. We customize desserts to suit our clients’ needs and lifestyle. All our desserts are handcrafted, made in small batches using high quality ingredients. We do not use any refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, preservatives, artificial or GMO ingredients. We follow the natural, fresh, wholesome and clean eating concept so that our clients can enjoy desserts guilt free!

What sets us apart from others is that we constantly challenge ourselves to improve. We strive to keep our social media audiences engaged and introduce interesting menu options. I keep experimenting with different flavor combinations and follow food trends in the dessert world. In this past year, I have extensively expanded my gluten free and vegan menu options. We have over 15 menu categories with many flavor combinations that can be made gluten free and vegan. There is something for everyone. If clients don’t find what they are looking for, we customize for them. We believe that quality is more important than quantity.

I have done a few desserts shows where the general public tried a variety of my desserts, and the response has been overwhelming! My desserts have got amazing reviews from various bloggers and were featured on KTLA Channel 5 and in online publications. My vegan Belgian chocolate raspberry cupcake recently won an award at SoCal VegFest 2017.

Today, I am proud that Light and Healthy Desserts has become a go-to bakery in Orange County for people who want customized high-quality healthy desserts as well as gluten free, vegan, and eggless desserts. We are known for our individual attention to each client, delicious variety of high quality desserts, packaging and presentation, and excellent customer service. We have a 5-star rating on Yelp and consistently get amazing reviews from our clients.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I want to continue to grow the business slowly and steadily. In the future I hope to supply to boutique coffee shops and artisanal stores that follow the same concepts as we do.

I also plan to participate in more dessert shows in Southern California. We will be at the 2018 LA Cookie Con at the Anaheim Convention Center on February 10th and 11th, where we will have a booth for sampling and selling a variety of our products, I will also be giving baking demos on gluten free and vegan desserts on both days.

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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