Interview: Sweet Detente Baker Robin Schwartz

Baker Los Angeles

Artisanal LA has become a proving ground for food and drink related concepts that demonstrate a commitment to local, sustainable and handmade philosophy. From April 16 – 17, event organizer Shawna Dawson gathered more than 90 vendors in a vacant space on the top floor of Santa Monica Place. Attendees got their first tastes from tenants at The Market, a 45,000-square-foot, multiple booth venue that opens on May 20, and several other concepts could easily achieve breakout status as well. Each artisan has a story, and we have eight tales to tell, including a baker.

Sweet Détente founder Robin Schwartz has been working in the entertainment industry and is now focusing full time on bringing people together through a roster of individually portioned, international desserts like English Bakewell tarts and Argentine alfajores.

When did you know you would bake for a living?

This is actually a change of career for me, but I’ve been baking since I was a kid and have formal training as well. I decided in the middle of this economy I would go back to doing something creative and decided to put a business plan of what I’d like to do. I always liked to do gourmet, upscale desserts to challenge myself, and it always ended up being international, European, so I did international desserts and decided to do organic because I love the quality of the products and the flavor. Everything was very natural and low in sugar. We’re finishing up organic certification. Basically we take desserts that are regionally known around the world, make them all individually sized, certified organic – of course – and the idea is to bring people together through dessert. We also offer dessert histories, to get you a little more familiar with what you’re eating and to get you more familiar with the people and the background of what the dessert’s about. We’re launching with eight desserts. We have four of them out here today that we’re selling and sampling. What we’re offering is our signature sablé dove cookie, plain and chocolate dipped, which we’re going to offer every month, and rotate two of the other desserts in the collection every month. You can come back every month and mix and match.

Why the name Sweet Détente?

Well, we wanted a concept of bringing people together, and if people are familiar with the French word détente, it really means an easing of tensions and relations between nations, or some kind of an agreement, so that’s the détente part, and sweet is the dessert. It’s bringing people together through dessert.

If people can only eat one of your products, what should it be, and how come?

Oh my goodness. That’s a personal choice. We decided to try to do a good variety, no matter what your taste is, so every dessert has multiple flavor varieties. For example, if you like our English bakewell tart, you may like raspberry, but not cherry. We have cherry, blueberry and raspberry. For our Argentinean alfajores, we have chocolate dipped with walnut and pecans. If you have nut allergies, we have a nut free version with rum or Amaretto. We have a variety to keep everybody in mind, no matter what their taste.

What have you been doing for living leading up to this?

I work in the entertainment industry. Right now I’m a music entertainment industry consultant. I’m making a career transition. I’ve been on the creative end of the industry, working with artists and songwriters. Right now I’m in a business affairs role for music rights research for online streaming and downloading for digital content.

Where are your treats available?

Right now we don’t have a physical bakery. We’re working out of a commercial kitchen. We’re selling to the retail public as well as B2B. We have an e-commerce website so you can either buy online through the shopping cart, or you can call and place an order. We do special events, catering, wholesale as well as retail accounts.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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