10 Rising-Star Food Artisans in LA

By Lesley Balla  |  April 7, 2014

The foodcrafting movement is on the rise around the country and especially here in LA. When California passed the Homemade Food Act, which went into effect in January of 2013, food artisans crafting everything from bread, candy and cupcakes to dried pasta and nut butters were legally allowed to sell their wares to the public. Since then, the cottage food industry has been booming, bringing more and more food artisans to farmer's markets and craft shows like Artisanal LA (the spring show hits Downtown again on April 26-27). There are a lot of foodcrafters who've been making LA more delicious for years, but here are 10 Rising-Star Food Artisans to keep an eye on for their kombucha, breads, jerky and more.

  • Grist & Toll

    Why We Love Them: Pasadena and Los Angeles have a rich history of flour mills, but this small outfit is the first to mill and sell fresh flour in the area since 1902. Getting organic grain from local growers and around the world, the small-batch flour is soft and gorgeous, having different characteristics with each batch. Professional and novice bakers alike have been singing the praises of the flour, which can be used in everything from breads to cookies, scones and more.
    Signature Item: Whole-grain flour.
    Where to Buy: Some chefs already in love with the flour include Bruce Kalman at Union and Margarita Manzke at Republique. The Pasadena retail shop is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 AM-5 PM. You’ll find fresh-baked bread on Saturdays only. There are also baking classes and community pop-ups in the space. Check out the website for recipes using the flour.

  • Simply Brigadeiro

    Why We Love Them: These little Brazilian confections are similar to chocolate truffles - simply made with quality cocoa powder, organic butter and condensed milk and usually covered in sprinkles - and served at birthdays or other celebrations. Brazilian transplant Sabrina Pires Kahn may be the first to sell brigadeiros to the public, rolling the bonbons in chocolate flakes, pistachios, coconut and more. They’re pretty to look at and delicious to eat.
    Signature Item: Chocolate with chocolate sprinkles, but the white chocolate bonbons with pretty white chocolate pearls or crystallized sugar are also sweet treats.
    Where to Buy: You’ll find Kahn and her confections at the spring Artisanal LA show, but you can also buy them online.

  • Almond Milk LA

    Why We Love Them: This alternative nondairy milk is making an impact on the scene. While most store-bought almond milks are filled with stabilizers and additives, this is pure raw, organic, non-GMO and nutritious milk made from almonds. It’s high in protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and more good stuff, and it’s great on its own or in smoothies. The old-fashioned glass bottles are also pretty awesome.
    Signature Item: Regular almond milk, but there’s also cacao, honey, lavender or turmeric (yep, it’s very yellow).
    Where to Buy: You can get it delivered via Good Eggs, or pick up bottles at Farmshop, The Oaks Gourmet, Red Bread, the Press Brothers Juice at Grand Central Market, and the Palisades and Malibu farmer's markets.
    Where to Try: They’re pretty generous with samples at the Palisades and Malibu farmer's markets on Sundays.

  • Confectionally Yours Chocolate

    Why We Love Them: Beautifully silky chocolate truffles made with organic, non-GMO chocolate that’s sourced from small farms in Ecuador and Peru, plus locally grown fruits, herbs and global spices.
    Signature Item: The mini truffles - smooth chocolate ganache covered in dark chocolate - are the perfect button-size candy to sate any chocolate craving. Flavors range from orange cardamom (our favorite) to strawberry basil, banana spiced and rosemary. Plus, if you return the jar, owner Coco will fill it for a few dollars less.
    Where to Buy: Find Confectionally Yours at Spice Alley at the Hollywood Farmers Market on Sundays, and also at the spring Artisanal LA show.

  • Better Booch

    Why We Love Them: We know that kombucha, the probiotic fermented tea beverage, is good for you, but some brands just aren’t as tasty as others. Enter Better Booch, a boutique kombucha company with a sustainability slant (you return the bottles) with unique flavors like pear, apple ginger and peach.
    Signature Item: Take your pick from the kombuchas - they're all good.
    Where to Buy: Several local markets and cafes carry the Booch, including Organix in Eagle Rock and Alfred Coffee and Kitchen on Melrose Place. You can also order it for delivery from Good Eggs.
    Where to Try: There’s now a Booch Bar at Grand Central Market where the “boochtenders” are serving the kombucha from taps.

  • Coco Bakes

    Why We Love Them: It’s not every day we find a vegan, gluten-free cookie that we like, but Coco Kislinger’s cookies and breads are pretty dynamite. The story is one you’ve heard before - law student ditches the real world for Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, falls in love with pastry, lands a gig at Huckleberry under the tutelage of Zoe Nathan, and then finds out she’s intolerant to dairy and gluten. So she makes it her mission to make a better vegan cookie, and she’s succeeded with these small-batch beauties.
    Signature Item: The cookies come in a variety of flavors, including double chocolate chip, chia chocolate chip and lemon poppy seed, and the cakes come in flavors like carrot-apple-walnut or cardamom citrus.
    Where to Buy: You’ll find Coco Bakes at the spring Artisanal LA show, but you can also order online for delivery ($50 minimum).

  • Three Jerks Jerky

    Why We Love Them: Even if jerky was never your thing, this Venice-based outfit makes a filet mignon jerky in various flavors that will change your mind about everything you knew about jerky. Because they start out with the tender and flavorful filet mignon, the jerky won’t cut your mouth, and the flavors will make it sing. And who knew jerky was so versatile - check out the website for recipes like chocolate-dipped jerky, jerky chili and jerky quesadillas, and using it as a garnish on Bloody Marys and deviled eggs.
    Signature Item: The three jerkies - original flavor, Memphis barbecue or chipotle adobo. Chipotle adobo outranks the other two by a sweet-spicy inch.
    Where to Buy: You’ll find the jerky in local stores like Broome Street General Store in Silver Lake, DTLA Cheese at Grand Central Market and Simons Market in Venice. You can also order it online.

  • Soft Peaks Confections

    Why We Love Them: French macarons are still trending hard, but this mother-daughter baking team makes theirs without the brightly colored dyes. So, no, you won’t find yellow, green and red cookies, but that’s what you get for letting salted caramel be salted caramel, chocolate be chocolate and lemon be lemon.
    Signature Item: The cookies in all their simple, natural beauty.
    Where to Buy: Online only for now.

  • Outpost Cold Brew Coffee

    Why We Love Them: Our coffee intake switch has moved to “iced,” so it’s cold-brew until at least November. And if we’re feeling lazy or just want a better coffee than we can brew, we look to Outpost’s subscription service. The coffee is cold-brewed for 24 hours, has nice hints of caramel and is low on acidity but high in caffeine. In a word, it’s balanced. But what do you expect from a group of Handsome Coffee Roaster alums?
    Signature Item: The Cold Brew Club gets you one 12-pack of cold-brew coffee in bottles every month.
    Where to Buy: Online only. Look for them at Artisanal LA as well.

  • Bricklane Bread

    Why We Love Them: Everyone needs good bread in their life, and baker Andrea Fleytas will make sure Long Beach and surrounding areas gets theirs via her bakery and delivery service. Her packaging makes everything feel like a gift, from the paper-wrapped baguettes with herbs tied on with string to boxes of mallorcas, the sweet, powdered sugar-dusted sweet rolls.
    Signature Item: Crusty and chewy baguettes, soft and slightly sweet brioche and pretzel slider buns. Fleytas also makes cookies, scones and muffins.
    Where to Buy: Fleytas’ fresh-baked breads and pastries are at Make Collectives in Downtown Long Beach, and Long Beach, Seal Beach and Los Alamitos residents can get her baked goods delivered right to their doorsteps.