Meet the lovely Kim Garr, founder of C’est La V Bakeshop. She brings consumers desserts made from unrefined sugars, organic ingredients, and are free of cholesterol. You probably know Kim Garr from the last big vegan cupcake wars showdown. Her style is elegant, sweet and of course vegan! Kim was kind enough to sit down and give us a great interview.
1. When did you start C’est La V Bakeshop?
I started C’est La V Bakeshop in January of 2009 after working at Leda’s Bakeshop here in Los Angeles for three years and starting a full vegan line of products there. Leda’s ended up closing late 2008, so I decided to start my own business.
2. What is your signature style of baking?
I think my style of baking is elegant and decadent at the same time. I like food that looks like food! I’m not into lots of artificial coloring or crazy decorations – I prefer simplicity. I love to bake with fruit and natural ingredients. I also pride myself on having baked goods that are full of flavor instead of just tasting like they’re full of sugar.
3. How was cupcakes wars really like behind the scenes? Would you go again?
I can tell you that it’s as crazy and hectic as it looks on tv, and what you see is just the tip of the iceberg. As for whether or not I’d do it again, it was a huge honor to be chosen by Food Network to appear on one of their shows and to have had the opportunity to represent the vegan community on a main-stream national television show. It definitely pushed me outside my comfort zone, and I think that’s always a good thing.
4. How has being vegan helped you in your personal life and in business?
Personally I’m very proud to be vegan, because it’s important for me to know that my actions are in line with my beliefs. I feel better physically, and also feel like a whole new culinary world opened up to me when I became vegan. It’s unfortunate more people don’t see it that way, but hopefully the abundance of vegan blogs and cookbooks out there are working to change that. I don’t know how much it’s helped me in business, particularly since there are still plenty of people out there who still don’t have a great impression of vegan baked goods – but I’m working hard to change that!
5. Where can we find your vegan cupcakes?
I have a full line of vegan baked goods in addition to the cupcakes – including cookies, scones, biscotti, cinnamon rolls and brownies. Everything is available through http://www.cestlavbakeshop.com, and I can ship most of the products within the states. I haven’t yet found a shipping method that I’m happy with to send the cupcakes, cakes, cinnamon rolls and a couple of the cookies, but we’re working on it. For now they’re available for pick-up or delivery within the Los Angeles area.
6. Where is your favorite place to eat vegan food?
That’s the hardest question by far! There are so many places to get great vegan food these days. One of the best vegan meals I’ve ever had was at Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco. Here in LA I love Madeleine Bistro, Native Foods, Veggie Grill, Shojin, M Cafe, Hugo’s and Bulan Thai. And of course I love to eat here in my own kitchen!
7. What new project are you working on now?
I’m going to be introducing some fun new features on the blog in the next few weeks. We’re also shooting more videos, and we hope to shoot a pilot in the next couple months. (The ‘we’ is my husband, Ryan, and me. He’s a filmmaker, editor and photographer, and I’m so lucky to have his help with C’est La Vegan media!). I’m also working on C’est La Vegan cooking classes, which I’m very excited about, and I should have more information about them coming to the blog very soon!