By Candace Hansen
Full Name: WendySue Rosloff
Hometown: Bronx, New York
Lives in: Los Angeles
Past Jobs: Actress, recipe-testing Chef at Bon Appetit Magazine, caterer.
Current Job: Funny you should ask. I just sold my bakery, WendySue & Tobey’s 3 weeks ago, after 38 years now as an independent baker.
Education: Boston University, English major
Work Hours: Always/Sometimes/Never
Drum Practice Hours: Whenever I feel like it. I actually practice most when I have a gig coming up.
Your Title at Work: CEO, Owner/President/Ayatollah
Band(s) or artist(s) you play with or have played with: Julie Christensen ( backup singer Leonard Cohen many years), Claudia Russell, Jon Brion ( with Fiona Apple), Jim Kimo West (Weird Al), Fur Dixon (The Cramps), done many studio sessions, played with lots of folks over the years, plus had my own band for about 4 years called Ladybug. I do like being a side guy though.
Work Website: Wendysue-tobeys.com
Your work bio: I started as an actress in soap operas and B movies like New Year’s Evil, and started catering for extra money. Catering got big, I did TV shows like Jeopardy and the Lou Grant Show, opened a retail store, then sold Trader Joe the 2nd baked good they ever had, after wine and cheese, a Blueberry Bran Muffin. Worked with them nationally for over 30 years until selling my bakery 3 weeks ago!!
Cool work stuff going on: I’m working on marketing a line of vegan cakes I had in Whole Foods years ago, more in line with my current values.
Favorite drum beat: African groove.
Favorite pastry: Pretzel Bread!
How did you start playing the drums?
I started playing guitar at 12 and I still play. My good college friend Michael always kept his drum kit at my house in Boston and when we both moved to LA, he started keeping them at my house here, but I wasn’t allowed to play them or move anything. Then another friend left his drum kit at my house so when Michael came over to play the drums I sat at the other kit and played along and I loved it. I started taking lessons at age 47 and got my first gig on my 50th birthday.
How did you get into cooking?
In college I was always able to go into someone’s pantry and conjure up something delicious.
Where can people get your delicious treats?
Well, a month ago I would’ve said Trader Joe’s, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, but now I’m going to say wait and see where my new line of WendySue’s Vegan baked products lands.
How did you get into making baked goods?
After catering from my home I opened up a gourmet shop on Robertson near La Cienega. I was working 27 hours a day and losing $3000 a month. Seeing a trend in American cooking in 1982 and knowing how popular my muffins were when I catered, I made an appointment with Trader Joe’s because I saw they had croissants after a few years of just being a wine and cheese shop. Everyone told me my stuff was too expensive but I went anyway and they bought my invention of a blueberry bran muffin. They had to teach me about packaging. We sold about $250,000 that first year and I was in business!
What is special about baked goods?
What kind of question is that??? They’re DELICIOUS!!!!
How do you think of recipes? Is it a similar creative process to making music?
Recipes are a springboard to thinking about different processes and combinations, and then coming up with something original. I guess in a way it’s like listening to music which gives you somewhere to start and then coming up with your own style.
How do people at work react when they find out you are a drummer? Do you ever hide your drummer identity?
Being the owner, I laid very low with my music life. I don’t hide it, it just isn’t relevant there.
How did you learn to play the spoons? Any connection to the kitchen?
I was at Boston University, sitting on the grass in front of the student union. I saw a homeless guy playing so I asked him to teach me. It’s the only thing I learned in college that I still remember or have use for.