We had the good fortune of connecting with Mickey Ly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mickey, what’s your definition for success?
If it gives that “Yes! I did it/that!” kind of feeling, then that’s success to me. Success is such a unique and personal point of view. It’s as big or small as you want it to be, depending on how much work and pressure you want to put on yourself. I used to think success had to include other people’s ideals in my decisions and work, just to spit out a result that they’ll accept. Not! For me, I feel an awesome sense of success every time I complete baking a loaf of sourdough or a meaty pie. If people like what I’ve made for them, then that’s an over-the-top feeling of accomplishment, and you guessed it, success!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I sell a variety of baked goods from my home kitchen. My pride and joy though is creating Maude, my sourdough starter. From her, I’ve been able to make countless loaves of bread, rolls, waffles, biscuits, and beyond! Creating and maintaining Maude’s life is still such a wonder to me. The way she bubbles up and her subtle tang shows how much she’s alive. She lets me know when she’s ready to churn out more bakes. One of the most exciting things for me is when I get to cut into a fresh loaf of bread after it’s baked. I can’t wait to see the moist open crumb, the creamy colors, and to take a deep whiff of its aromas. All of this builds to the joy of finally taking a bite! Slicing into a freshly baked homemade pie also gives me quite a thrill!
I never thought I could be so lucky being where I am, baking and cooking away to my heart’s desire in my little kitchen. I went to culinary school, then off to cooking in the restaurant business. It was emotionally difficult because of the culinary school loan, but I loved working in the professional kitchen. I learned so, so many things! I lasted as long as I could cooking for low wages before I realized I just couldn’t afford living like that anymore. The school loan, rent, the bills – it all felt overwhelming and never-ending. I made the very tough decision to put cooking and baking on hold and got a soul-sucking job that could pay the loan and bills off faster. Then covid-19 hit, and everything changed. Quarantined at home, my husband suggested I try baking and selling goods from our kitchen. I had a “eureka” moment and thought why not? So that’s what I’ve been up to since then and loving every moment of it. I still need to work on some kinks of how to reach even more people about my bakes because I would LOVE to have the problem of keeping up with orders!
Times when I mess up a bake or think that I have, I reach into my cerebral food bank and am able to figure out what happened. It’s a relief to know Google is there just in case, but I’m a bit dazzled when I could break it down myself. This comes from all the mistakes, successes, learning, and more learning I’ve completed. Learning something new and letting it soak in is a very important lesson in the kitchen, along with patience, curiosity, and loving the process.
I’m a shy person and stumble over my words a lot of times. But baking and cooking makes me feel confident and helps me to show others what I love doing and try my best at. I hope people can appreciate my efforts and taste the freshness of my home-baked goods. And with even more hope, they’ll come back for seconds (and thirds, fourths..)!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Hiking to Sturtevant Falls, dog watching at Huntington Dog Beach, crying at the Museum of Tolerance, and catching a Rams, Sparks, Lakers, Clippers, Kings, or Dodgers game. I’m going to throw Disneyland in here as well because it’s just that magical.
I live in the suburbs of Los Angeles and there’s lots of places to eat and drink out here as well! Ding’s Garden has the best cold meat salad plate. It’s full of salty-hot Szechwan spice, beef tendons and tripe, pigs’ ears, and bean curds. At Hayakawa, the Omakase menu is the experience to try. Every dish made by the Chef is not only beautiful but refreshing and beyond delicious. When you want big bites of umami and salt, Mr Pollo’s lomo saltado and tallarines verdes won’t disappoint. 38 Degrees has a huge selection of craft beers to choose from. I always have a great time trying a different beer any time I visit here. Finally, you could never go wrong with the classic In-N-Out burger and fries, both animal-style.
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?
Big shoutout to Victor Chi! My husband always with love, encouragement, and sharp honest opinions on my bakes! Thank you, love you!