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Meet Stef and Chris Schaldenbrand of A.M. Smash in Palms

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stef and Chris Schaldenbrand.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Since we first started dating, we always knew selling food was in our future. We were both in the service industry years ago and food has always been the subject of most of our conversations. While we’re blown away by what inventive and classic chefs alike are doing, we’re suckers for comfort food.

A few years ago, we entered a national grilled cheese contest and beat over 1700 entries to take 1st place and the $15,000 prize. While the money paid for our wedding, the winning of the contest solidified for us that feeding people comfort food was a calling.

Over the next few years, we actively grew our current careers, relocated to LA and battled the loss of someone very special to us. It was this experience that helped propel us back to what we were both so passionate about from the start – FOOD. We dove into creating a recipe that was true to who we were and could also make anyone eating it feel the warmth and happiness of childhood nostalgia. This is how A.M. Smash was born.

Has it been a smooth road?
Though not without some hard work and learning curves, it has been a really fun ride and for that, we are lucky. From the start, it was very important to us to pop-up in Palms. This has been our neighborhood since moving to LA and it felt organic to feed familiar faces on a corner we pass multiple times a day. We were also fortunate enough to receive mentorship from Mark Tripp of Tripp Burgers who is also a driving force in this community. Our recipes, like anyone’s, took some noodling to get just right. Nothing worth doing comes without its obstacles, but we’re happy to just learn and grow as we go.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with A.M. Smash – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
A.M. Smash is a breakfast sandwich pop-up in West LA, specifically in the neighborhood of Palms. We’re known for our killer house-made sausage and maple aioli, but mostly, we like to think we specialize in starting someone’s day just right.

We’re especially proud of our commitment to sourcing local and certified humane protein.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
L.A. really knows how to show up – not only for pop-ups but for protests, for sports, for environmental causes, for undocumented workers…the list goes on. Its cultural diversity, combined with year-round agriculture also makes it undoubtedly one of the best food cities in the world.

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