Embark on a Journey of Flavor, Redemption, and Community Building with Izell Leonard of Taste Bud Approved

By Timothy W. Joseph on July 1, 2023

Taste Bud Approved

Los Angeles, CA – Picture yourself savoring a spoonful of sheer satisfaction as creamy layers of rich vanilla blend perfectly with ripe bananas, all nestled between crunchy bites of vanilla wafers. Your taste buds are instantly awakened, craving the delightful sweetness and comforting textures that only Banana Pudding can deliver.

Not enough to make your mouth water yet? Then imagine sinking your teeth into a slice of heavenly strawberry shortcake cheesecake. With each bite, you experience the exquisite layers of fluffy cake, luscious strawberry filling and creamy cheesecake. It’s a dessert masterpiece that harmonizes the freshness of strawberries with the indulgent richness of cheesecake alongside crumbled shortcake, creating a symphony of flavors that transport you to dessert bliss.

But the indulgence doesn’t end there. Visualize treating yourself to a crunch with white chocolate and caramel chip cookie. As you take a bite, the soft and chewy cookie texture delights your senses, while the decadent combination of white chocolate and caramel chips provides bursts of sweetness and richness.


This is just a preview of the tantalizing treats that await you at Taste Bud Approved. Founded by Owner and Pastry Chef, Izell Leonard, this Los Angeles based company is making waves. It all started with a simple idea: flavors that make your taste buds go crazy. With a deep love for all things culinary, Izell’s creations are nothing short of extraordinary.

Not only does Taste Bud Approved set itself apart with their delicious desserts, but also through the incredible life journey that led to its creation. To say that Izell made some mistakes in his younger days would be an understatement. Normally, I wouldn’t mention such things in an article like this, but Izell’s past is integral to what he does for his business and community today.

His past mistakes led to Izell serving a twenty-two year prison sentence. However, his is not a tale of misery and defeat, but rather redemption and purpose found through a love for food. While in prison, Izell learned how to bake and eventually earned himself a place in one of California’s fire camps that specialize in food preparation. In an unfortunate turn of events, Izell’s son also ended up in prison. Thankfully, prayers for a chance to reunite with his son were answered when he found favor with a sergeant at the fire camp, granting him the opportunity to work alongside his son while teaching him the art of baking.

These experiences, combined with the latitude he was given to experiment and create his own recipes, formed the foundation of Taste Bud Approved. It was there that Izell honed his skills and discovered the secrets to extracting bold and tantalizing flavors. Pies made from cookies became his signature, and his passion for baking ignited.

Since his release four years ago, Izell has been on a mission to share his delectable creations with the world. But Taste Bud Approved is not just about the desserts themselves; it’s about the impact they have on the community. Izell actively engages with local organizations such as Children’s Institute Inc, and K.A.U.S.E.-Los Angeles, to give back and uplift the neighborhood. From supporting community events to conducting baking classes for children, Taste Bud Approved is committed to building a stronger and more vibrant community one sweet treat at a time.

“I helped tear this community down, now I am obligated to build it back up. I came back with a different mindset of healing the community. Let’s add more value to it. God allowed me to use this business as a vehicle for that,” explained Izell.

Izell couldn’t do it alone,  He has had the help of family, especially his wife and daughter. In addition to family, he also has had help from other members of the community like Janelle, a staff member at Ted Watkins Park, who along with the East Side Riders Bike Club and Sisters of Watts bought Izell the mixer that he uses for his business. From humble beginnings of selling his banana pudding at the park with a cardboard sign to where his business is now, Izell Leonard’s story is a testament to the transformative power of perseverance and following one’s dreams.

Bask in the extraordinary desserts from Taste Bud Approved and savor the flavors that not only please your taste buds but also leave a lasting impression. Visit www.tastebudapproved.com to treat yourself to a delightful experience and join the journey of flavors, redemption and community that Izell Leonard has crafted. You won’t be disappointed.

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