Sweet Moments Company is cooking up ways for people to gather virtually and learn how to prepare everything from gourmet meals to decadent desserts – all from the comfort of their own homes.
Mesa couple Therese and Brent Ludwig, launched the company in 2019 with a desire to connect with people through hands-on cooking and learning.
After years of owning and operating a bakery, Therese said she was ready for a change.
“I was done with the crazy hours that came with running the bakery.” she said. “I love teaching and interacting with people, sharing the knowledge of food, and getting in the kitchen and having fun.”
Sweet Moments began by offering in-home services. Therese, a trained pastry chef and culinary instructor, would conduct private cooking lessons from the person’s home.
But with COVID-19, the Ludwigs knew they had to adapt the company to the changing times. Over the summer, they transitioned all their classes to virtual formats and started marketing their services in Eastmark, the master-planned community where they reside.
Sweet Moments Company now offers a wide variety of virtual classes, including their Date Night option for couples wishing to prepare a more upscale dinner with items like seared lamb lollipops with herb couscous and red wine sauce.
There are also several family-friendly classes to choose from including cookie decorating and cupcake-making, which Therese said tend to be some of the most popular classes.
The company also offers general cooking classes which explore common cooking techniques that aren’t quite as upscale as the Date Night option.
In addition, they are launching a four-week Intro to Cooking Course beginning in the new year that will cover topics such as knife skills, sauce making, soups, salads, and dressings. A complete dinner will follow each session.
Once registered for a class, all ingredients are prepared and pre-measured in the company’s commercial kitchen, then either shipped or delivered to the participant’s front door the day before the class.
Classes are then conducted via Zoom and are taught in real-time by Therese from her home kitchen.
“It was important to me that I teach out of my own kitchen to show a comfortable environment and that it can be done at home,” said Therese. “I want all the classes to have that warm and welcoming feeling.”
Behind the scenes, Therese’s husband Brent, a full-time engineer by day, dedicates his spare time to helping with the technical side of the business, doing the camera work, filming and handling the finances.
“He is the backbone of the company,” said Therese.
Therese, who is a full-time culinary instructor at Scottsdale Community College, manages the company’s social media, responds to emails, handles all the class bookings, shops for the ingredients and prepares the ingredients for all the classes.
With so many moving parts, Therese said it has been tough getting everything organized as the company continues to grow.
“Time has been our biggest challenge,” she said, adding; “We’ve spent a lot of time developing our products, figuring out new packaging, and creating new methods to make it more efficient.”
Therese said they have plans to expand and hope to eventually bring on more chefs and some help with the kitchen prep work and the portioning and shipping in the new year.
While COVID-19 has taken a toll on several small businesses, Therese said Sweet Moments has thrived in its new virtual format.
“It has had a positive impact on us and really helped kick-start our business,” she said.
The company also offers private course bookings which Therese said have been a hit with large corporations.
“A lot of companies are contacting us wanting to set up a virtual get together as a holiday gift to their employees or as a team building event,” said Therese.
Bringing people together in the kitchen is exactly what inspired the name for the company.
Therese, who said her love for cooking and baking was fostered by her mother, said she wanted to recreate those special memories for others.
“It is so rewarding to see people interact and do something together,” said Therese. “It’s not just about cooking, it’s about bringing sweet moments to the kitchen.”