Denmark native Rasmus Lee and business partner Helen Le open Hygge Bakery in the downtown Los Angeles neighborhood of South Park on Tuesday, June 30. The contemporary bakery features a glass front and promises “a true taste of the Danish.” Hygge [pronounced hoo-geh] means “to be cozy, to live good life, to be comfortable.” Lee equated hygge to Italy’s La Dolce Vita. “It’s a lifestyle, a social concept.”
“Danish pastry is the best you can get,” says Lee, “because of the process and the schooling.” Pastry work requires a 4-year degree and apprenticeship in Denmark. He hired Henrik Gram as Hygge’s head baker.
Hygge Bakery sells loaves of bread. Think French baguette, Italian bread, and German rye made with sourdough, rye flour and malt. House-baked breads also factor into traditional Danish sandwiches and open-faced sandwiches on rye bread.
Lee played jazz saxophone in New York for 10 years before moving to Los Angeles. He started in real estate in 2003 and got licensed in 2004, which is when he “realized this particular downtown area was going to be a big thing” and decided to implement his long-term bakery plan.
Why a Danish bakery? Lee said, “I love this stuff and used to literally fly to Denmark to eat it.” He and his partner plan to open more Hygge Bakeries in California cities before expanding beyond state lines.