We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Andrade and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rachel, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
When I was a kid, probably around 8 years old, there would always be cooking shows and competitions on our tv. My family and I, we’d all be on the couch in the living room watching cake decorating shows or even regular cooking shows with celebrity chefs.
Although the celebrity chef bit was always fun, I was captivated by the craftsmanship and artistry that went into those baking shows. I always thought, “hey I wanna have my own cake shop when I grow up!” I took a different route when I chose to pursue the culinary arts, but I was always in awe that that was a real career path you could take! I didn’t know that you could pursue a job that was actually fun and creative. And once I learned more and more about what baking and cooking actually consisted of I just fell in love with it. Plus it’s a craft that you’re always learning about. You’re always learning how to better your techniques and methods while understanding the science that actually happens when creating beautiful, edible creations. I just find it so freakin’ cool and cannot see myself doing anything else.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My passion is food! Haha! I love cooking, baking, drinking coffee and I love eating. Have you ever had a good meal and the entire time you find yourself just humming to yourself? No? Just me? Okay because almost everything I consume you’ll hear a “mmm” from me. Food is an art. Food is culture. And food is nostalgia.
Everything that I make is reminiscent of what I loved eating as a child. It could be something my mom or dad made, or it could be something handed down the family from my grandparents.
When I created Renegade Sweets I wanted it to be authentically me. I wanted to make things that I love and am always craving. I wanted it to showcase food, desserts and coffee drinks that were homemade, amazing quality but with my own creative twists. I wanted people to experience the comfort in every bite that I grew up with. You know that ratatouille reference when the food critic has that childhood flashback? That’s what I want to give to anyone who eats my creations. I want to be able to give customers an experience.
The journey of renegade sweets hasn’t been the easiest of course. I got the idea during the beginning of Covid 2020 and decided to bake out of boredom after being laid off from my day job. I always wanted to start my own business but never did I think I could try to make that happen in the middle of a global pandemic. That year was so chaotic for everyone as a whole that I just wanted to be able to give back to people. I was able to do that through contact free deliveries of homemade baked goods and by donating portions of proceeds to charities from Black Lives Matter to animal shelters (SPCALA) to the ACLU. My goal professionally and personally is to give back to the community. I want to be able to put smiles on peoples faces. Imagine taking a bite of a homemade concha and being brought back to your childhood and knowing that your purchase is at least trying to make a difference in this world. I think it’s safe to say that I am at well on my way to making that be known as my brand for renegade sweets.
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?
I am so lucky (and spoiled) to have grown up in the South Bay/ Beach Cities area. It’s amazing to have watched the food and beverage scene grow here. Honestly I can give lists on top of lists of places I recommend for anything you’re craving but a gem would be Hoka Hoka Sushi in Redondo Beach. It’s just a comfort restaurant for me. It’s amazing quality and amazing pricing and such a local gem that I will probably regret sharing because it’s always already so busy and wish it could be a South Bay secret but it deserves all the recognition.
When I was in high school, there wasn’t many third wave coffee shops that I could go to for an amazing cup of coffee. Now there’s so many to choose from. If you want a great espresso beverage I recommend La Terraza in Redondo Beach. They have an LA location as well but have a beautiful spot that within walking distance of the beach. It’s one of my favorite places to go grab an iced oat latte and breakfast sandwich and then walk and eat on the esplanade. They’re Mexican- owned as well as offer tamale specials and sometimes have fresh conchas and it’s just always a pleasant experience to see hints of my Mexican heritage represented in a full blown local business. Another coffee shop would be Coffee Cartel in Redondo Beach. It’s just cozy. Every drink is good and they got the big comfy couches that are good for studying, working or just catching up with friends. I feel like I grew up there from having study group sessions there throughout high school (and sometimes culinary school), catching up with my friends I haven’t seen in so long, and I also have a soft spot because that’s where I had my first date with Zack. It was cozy, comfortable, right next to the beach and we even saw a shooting star that night. Cliche right? But it was magical and the rest is simply history.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh gosh, where do I start. First off, I am a firm believer of things happening for a reason. I am so appreciative and thankful for everyone who has supported and pushed me to get where I am today. I’m forever grateful to my partner, Zack for always supporting and encouraging me to be myself and allowing me to put my entire being into what I choose to do. I wanted to start doing my own small business venture and without missing a beat he was all in helping me find myself in what I created with my small baking business that is now Renegade Sweets.
I’m also thankful of my parents and sisters for always encouraging me to keep baking and cooking and allowing me to continue to be creative as I want. I am thankful for my friends from culinary school and any friends from my childhood who continue to support me creatively and personally. And ultimately I am grateful to my culinary school chef mentor, Glenn Smith. I don’t think I’d be where I am in my career without his guidance and patience. His influence and knowledge is just so aspirational and I hope that at the end of the day I can give back to the culinary community as he did for me.
Other: I take any baking, catering and coffee inquiries at email@example.com My personal Instagram is @rach_the_bean where i post a lot more about food and drinks I consume rather than make. But there’s a lot of dog pics content if you love cute puppies.
Andrew Alexander Anthony Purcella