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ABOUT

JESSICA DOWDY LOPEZ, Pastry Chef

After graduating with a bachelor or science in Nutrition from UT Austin and becoming fascinated with food science, Jessica further pursued her education in pastry school at FERRANDI in Paris, France. Her internship following school was in the pastry kitchen of the palace hotel Four Seasons George V in Paris, after which she received her diploma in French patisserie and bread baking.

Working for over a decade in bakeries and pastry kitchens in Texas, she has refined her pastry technique, all the while observing the wastefulness and use of toxic equipment and ingredients in most commercial kitchens. While on maternity leave with her first child in 2019, Jessica finally had the time to read and learn more about some of those things that had been on the back burner in her mind. Learning about the toxic chemicals, the wastefulness and environmental crisis of single-use in plastic (in food packaging, plastic wrap, piping bags, etc.), caused a shift in her daily life and mindset. When looking at the the baking world through this lens, she noticed an opportunity for change and began Sustainable Sweets.

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The restaurant/bakery/hospitality industry is extremely wasteful. Think of all the plastic wrap, aluminum foil, single-use gloves, plastic piping bags, paper towels, parchment paper, to-go containers, etc. that are sitting in landfills and will be for a long time after we’re gone. And think of all the energy waste from commercial ovens left on all day even if nothing is being actively baked. Imagine the impact of all the emissions from the delivery of ingredients from afar; all of the pesticides and poor soil stewardship from non-organic produce and factory-farmed animal products.

 

Smaller Footprint​
  • What Sustainable Sweets is doing differently:

    • reusable silicone piping bags and

    • home-compostable parchment paper/baking cups

    • nothing single-use in production (unless it’s home-compostable)

    • never using plastic wrap or aluminum foil

    • composting food waste

    • reusing boxes for deliveries (instead of using pretty new boxes that will be thrown immediately away)

    • small radius of ingredients (eggs, flour, dairy, chocolate)

    • forging relationships with local farmers, millers, chocolatiers, etc.

    • making deliveries and purchasing ingredients in a Prius

Lower Toxic Load
  • Non-stick bakeware, plastic, common food coloring (which is synthesized from petroleum), and pesticides (on non-organic produce, sugar, and wheat) have all been recognized as potentially carcinogenic to humans (links?)

  • Our Ingredients

    • always organic, as local as possible

    • homemade food-based colors

      • color palette contains: beet, paprika, hibiscus, turmeric, spinach, spirulina, blue spirulina, cocoa powder, cinnamon, activated charcoal

  • Our Production Process

    • Never baked in non-stick bakeware

    • No plastic used

    • Materials used in production: stainless steel, wood, bamboo, glass, ceramic, food grade silicone, home-compostable parchment paper, baking cups, recycled cardboard

Always Working to Improve
  • Eventual goals:

    • milling flour to order

    • making own butter

    • chickens?

    • finding better lower-impact sugar options

      • grow organic sugar beets and make sugar?​

    • finding florists/venues to work with in reusing florals 

    • no electricity in production (other than refrigeration), bake in outdoor rocket oven, vintage hand mixer, etc.. 

    • electric vehicle for deliveries

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