We had the good fortune of connecting with Karen Quinones and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Karen, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?

I never planned on starting my own business. The business came to life on its own. The pandemic and lock down slowed life down to a screeching halt. I am a per diem Registered Nurse at an outpatient surgical center. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was becoming difficult to source. Los Angeles County asked all elective surgery centers to pause surgery when possible. My surgical center had to quickly pivot and shut down all elective surgeries and scramble to find N95s for staff, and implement covid testing for patients. It was a scary time for everyone in healthcare. While my surgical center worked on finding the proper methods to keep afloat, I had extra time on my hands. All of our weekend plans were cancelled for what seemed like the unforeseeable future. My kids were being home schooled and life stood still.
I needed an outlet. I needed something else to occupy my mind from all that happened in 2020. I taught myself how to make sourdough bread. I found bread making meditative and relaxing. I quickly became addicted and when I returned to work I would bring in all my baked goods to share with my co-workers. My co-workers enjoyed the bread so much that some of them wanted to place an order. I told them I’d be happy to make it for them for free when I had the time. They insisted they would pay. They literally placed money in my pocket and said “just bring it in when you can.” That’s how Wildflour was born. A hobby that became a micro-bakery and small business.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am the Owner and Baker of Wildflour Artisan Sourdough. Wildflour Artisan Sourdough is an Artisan Sourdough Micro-Bakery located in the charming town of Monrovia, California. I am really proud of our bakery ethos. We source, local, organic, heritage, and ancient grains. We mill the grains in-house to provide all the health benefits of freshly milled grains. Our sourdough is cold fermented for 15-18 hours to help aid-in digestion and develop intense flavor. As a small business we understand our supply chain responsibility. We value and purchase from local farmers interested in sustainable and regenerative practices. We are set apart from most bakeries because we invest in heritage and heirloom grains to support grain biodiversity. What excites me as a baker is how we push the boundaries of a traditional bakery. We are a scratch bakery that changes its menu once a week to offer seasonal and delicious breads and treats. Our desserts look very different from most bakeries. We have offered Almond Roca Cookies, Sweet Potato Cookies, and Apple Pies with passionfruit glaze and hibiscus salt. It is difficult for the public to trust you at first when things look different. Risk taking is challenging and sometimes does not pay off at first. Then your customers learn to trust that even when things look different they are confident it will be delicious, and possibly their new favorite iteration of a classic. We have learned to be patient and trust our instincts.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The amazing thing about Los Angeles is how vast and how many amazing spots it has. The best way to show my best friend LA is in regions. Let’s start with the West Side. I would have to start with El Matador State Beach in Malibu. We would start the day off with a morning walk on the beach. We would take in the Pacific Ocean and the gorgeous Rock formations there. Then I would take her to Neptune’s Net for some nostalgic oceanside bites. Then we could hike and body surf at Point Dume to work up an appetite and end up at Nobu to people watch and enjoy some Sushi. The next day I would show her Venice Beach and Santa Monica. We could eat at Gjelina for lunch and get fancy at night and eat at my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles Mélisse. I imagine we would fit in the Getty and farmer’s market somewhere in between. Next stop Hollywood! I imagine we would stay at Chateau Marmont and walk Hollywood Blvd. Show her all the famous spots and then have the best burger in the world at Petite Trois. We’d see a show at the Pantages but would have to eat at Musso & Franks for a delicious steak and a gin martini before the show. The following day shopping on Melrose.  We could have dinner at Mozza or Chi Spacca then hit up Magnolia Bakery or République for dessert!  Next spot Los Feliz and Silverlake. We would take a hike to the Hollywood sign, check out Griffith Park Observatory and then stop to eat at Little Dom’s for lunch. A visit to LA is incomplete without walking downtown LA.  The Broad is a great starting point.  We would walk around the Historic Center, take a ride on Angeles Flight Railway, and hit the Grand Central Market.  We could have drinks at the Nomad in the evening then head to dinner at Orsa & Winston. Lastly, I would bring her to my neck of the woods. First we would have the best chilaquiles in Los Angeles at Kitchen Mouse in Highland park. Then we would head to the Pasadena Flea market and find some killer vintage items. I’d take her to Cacao Mexicatessen in Eagle Rock for some drinks and killer LA Tacos.  Then we would end up in my hometown Monrovia.  We would enjoy the street fair, farmers market and cute little shops along Mrytle Avenue then end the evening at the amazing and intimate Sushi Nakata.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to my husband of 23 years, Joshua Quiñones. I would not have had the courage to launch a Micro-bakery and partially walk-away from my career of 24 years if it were not for him. He believes in me, fills in all the blanks, and makes sure I am supported in every way. My dreams are becoming his dreams. It’s exciting to see the birth of the business and how fast it has grown.

Website: https://wildflourartisansourdough.com

Instagram: wildflour.la

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wildflour.la

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.