Today we’d like to introduce you to Lydia Shayne.
Lydia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today? DeLuscious Cookies founding member and owner Lydia Shayne did not always know she wanted to be a baker; it was not a childhood dream to own and operate a cookie company or provide gifts to the Entertainment Industry. It just happened because she said yes.
She started baking in late 2000, after the loss of her beloved border collie companion, Dewey. With a self-taught “Food Network circa 1998” education, Lydia began baking for friends & family, and for her then-partner’s co-workers in the newsroom. About a year later, a friend called and asked if she might be interested in running a cookie company that already had a baker. She simply said yes. She was ready to leave the world of politics and television news for her new-found passion: baking.
DeLuscious Cookies & Milk eventually opened its doors in December 2002. A few months after Lydia signed on as a partner, the head baker basically disappeared, so Lydia stepped in to keep the company going. The world of baking was thrust upon her. She turned the bakery into her canvas. Her burning desire to move in a dynamic direction and create adventuresome sweets led her to conjure up “couture” delights such as her line of fruit and chocolate filled “gooey butter cookies” , the Kimchi Peanut Butter Sriracha cookies, and Triple Chocolate S’mores Brownies. That said, her Chocolate Chip Cookie remains a classic favorite among cookie lovers everywhere. Her belief: “…whatever you do in this life, be all-in, and do it with integrity. Then, you will have the strength to withstand all challenges.”
The driving force behind DeLuscious Cookies is a deeply-rooted desire to provide clients with an incomparable product and impeccable customer service, carried out by her entire dynamic team. Lydia truly listens to what her clients have to say. This is the reason she released her Vegan Gluten-Free line in 2017. Without compromising taste, texture or flavor, Lydia was determined to create the vegan gluten-free version of her most popular “classic” flavors: chocolate chip, cinnamon brûlée, peanut butter and chocolate decadence. . Today the Vegan Gluten-Free line is not only available at the bakery but also in over 30 stores around Los Angeles.
2017 marked an upswing not only in retail but also as a notable year for Deluscious. Lydia had the privilege to provide her delectable deserts for the InStyle/Warner Bros Golden Globes After-Party, the exclusive suites for the 59th Grammys, and the 3,500 parachuted treats for the 89th Academy Awards.
Early in 2020, Lydia was a guest chef on The Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family, where she shared her classic Triple Chocolate Walnut Brownie recipe. Since then she created a vegan gluten-free version, which is now available for purchase at the bakery and stores around Los Angeles. Previously, she has been a celebrity guest judge for the Food Network and a guest chef on Facebook’s Tastemade. DeLuscious has twice guest-starred on HBO’s Entourage series and been the subject of numerous write-ups in Vanity Fair, Bon Appétit, and LA Confidential, to name a few.
Located on Highland and Melrose, DeLuscious Cookies is on the second level of what once was a warehouse for appliances. It has become a destination bakery and gifting company for celebrities, entertainment studios, talk-show greenrooms, locals, out-of-towners, and dessert aficionados from all over the globe.
“Our goal is that our clients smile when they bite into our cookies, feel the surge of happiness from rekindled childhood memories, and understand the love and passion we put into each and every cookie. If we achieve this, then my team and I have been successful,” says Lydia.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome? Of course. The first challenge was when our head baker disappeared and changed the trajectory of DeLuscious. Looking back, it seems as though it was certainly meant to be. Along the way, we have had several investors approach us, but they wanted a controlling interest in the company. We made the hard choice to grow the company without outside investors which meant we had to work smarter with less cash flow and each person had to take on more responsibility. We worked harder and smarter to manage growth and cash flow.
DeLuscious Cookies and Milk – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition? We create amazingly delicious cookies and brownies in both classic and vegan gluten free lines. We are known for the quality ingredients that go into making our cookies and brownies as well as the quality of the desserts themselves. Each product is tested and sampled until we are 100% satisfied.
What sets us apart from the competition Is our level of service. We believe each customer deserves special care and attention, a concierge level of service, whether catering to one or many. For us. quality service must start from the Inside out, from within the organization. Mutual respect for each team member is one of our basic tenets. Only then can respect and attention be shown to each customer.
We are an inclusive and diverse female owned company. This is very important to us. We hire individuals from all walks of life: all nationalities, races, religions, sexual orientation and gender identity.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on? I’m assuming you’re talking about my career with DeLuscious Cookies? I’m torn between getting our vegan gluten-free line into Erewhon and having our product parachuted down during the Academy Awards. How do I choose? Oh, and there is the upcoming launch of our Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dry Mix!