Sharon Wang is the chef/owner of Sugarbloom bakery and is responsible for the myriad of swoony Instagram pastry photos posted daily from our LA cafe. Her masterful and inventive baked goods are very photogenic and sound crazy good — Kimchi Spam Musubi Croissant, anyone?
You’d never guess that this is Sharon Wang’s second career. She seems completely born to do it. She started Sugarbloom only months ago — the name a nod to a process that occurs when making chocolate — and her food inspires followers to come far and wide to see what she’s got cooking.
One of those devoted Sugarbloom patrons was one of our first dudes on the ground in LA, Evan Dohrmann, who caught wind of her pastry pop-up at Taza and stopped in for weekly bites.
“Stumptown actually drove me to wholesale.” she says. “I wasn’t even ready! But I made it work.”
Before pastry was film: Sharon worked as an art director in the film industry for 10 years. She needed a life change, left the company on sabbatical, went to a ‘bootcamp’ at the Culinary Institute in Napa, and never looked back.
From there, she helped three-star Michelin chef Thomas Keller open all of his bakeries. She was the bread baker for Per Se and managed the chocolate room for both Per Se and Bouchon Bakery. She eventually worked her way up to pastry chef at Bouchon Bistro and Bakery Yountville and Beverly Hills.
She decided to take on a new challenge and her friends at Taza Coffee House in Arcadia invited her to do a bakery pop-up on the weekends.
“Sonny, the owner who’s Filipino, said to me, ‘Try whatever you want to try.’ So I started experimenting.” For the first time in her career, she explored all the wild ideas she had dreamed up while working in someone else’s kitchen. Which is where the Spam Musubi came in.
“I decided to take a kind of Asian-Pacific spin on things. Instead of a ham and cheese croissant, we went with the Spam Musubi, which is a Hawaiian delicacy. It’s like teriyaki-braised Spam. The kimchi adds a spicy pickled element. I say it’s kind of like Asian pigs in a blanket.”
She makes the kind of food she craves and prefers the savory and salty side of things, like pretzel croissants and maple bacon scones.
“Pastries enhance your life,” she says. “Taste is subjective, but there is an element of craftsmanship to this. And you can change somebody’s day.” Her pastries in our Stumptown LA cafe merge her classic French training with a bit of whimsy.
She tries to think of things to fit in with the times, not only based on what’s in season but also what people are doing in certain months.
In October, in honor of Oktoberfest, she started making a Hairbender Guinness Cake, “a hangover cake,” she calls it. When fall arrived and people started drinking more hot coffee, she created a pumpkin brioche designed to complement it. “It’s a must” she says. “You have to have coffee to complete the experience of eating it.”
With winter descending, she’s thinking about chestnuts, mint, and winter citrus. We’re looking forward to any- and everything coming out of that kitchen.
Photos by Benjamin Biros.