Sweet Moments Company: Embracing Virtual Cooking Classes
The COVID-19 pandemic has stopped many people in their tracks and caused them to change course professionally in order to make ends meet. For Therese Ludwig, it was about making adjustments to a current business that ultimately made it more successful than ever before. Ludwig is a pastry chef and culinary instructor with a passion for both savory and sweet culinary creations and more than 15 years of experience. She and her husband Brent started Sweet Moments Company in 2019 with a desire to bring fun and intimate cooking and baking classes to people's homes.
“Growing up, my most cherished memories were the sweet moments spent with my family in the kitchen enjoying wonderful food together,” says Ludwig. “When we started Sweet Moments Company, we wanted to bring this same feeling and experience to other families.”
That passion for creating an unforgettable experience for each attendee is still there even though SMC moved to a strictly online format in August 2020. It started out as an option for their neighbors in Mesa but quickly spread across the state and the country by December.
“We have been extremely successful through this last year. We are very grateful,” Ludwig says “It has been all organic growth and word of mouth that has taken us to this point.”
The way it works is like this — book the class of your choice online. After completing the registration form, you will receive a detailed confirmation email that includes the class schedule, Zoom link and ingredient delivery time. SMC is unique in that you don’t have to provide or prep your own ingredients. All you really need to do is make sure you have the equipment necessary, but you’ll get a heads up on items needed when you sign up. Every ingredient is pre-measured out and ready for you to use, not to mention the packaging it comes in is recyclable and compostable plus it’s all certified through the health department and prepared in a registered commercial kitchen.
“We pride ourselves on quality. Quality products, quality eco-friendly packaging, quality chef instructors and quality time!” says Ludwig. “I share all of my own recipes to ensure each guest can create a wonderful restaurant quality meal from the comfort of their own home with ease.”
There are many different types of food instruction to choose from with classes available different days of the week to suit any schedule. A look at the current upcoming offerings showcases a range of cuisines as well. There’s Easter cupcakes; chicken parmesan and scratch-made pasta; Maine lobster rolls; street tacos and margaritas and more. Those are the ones open to the public, and they range in price but are pretty affordable considering how much bang you get for your buck. Private classes are also available for team building and other company needs.
Ludwig’s live instruction over Zoom is a thing of beauty. She also has years of experience as a chef instructor at Scottsdale Community College, and it definitely shows. During a recent spring rolls and chicken pad Thai cooking class, she was patient and sweet, stopping along the way to check in on everyone and answering any questions. Ludwig allowed time for those with slower chopping skills and lagging stovetops.
We want our guests to feel like we have thought of just about everything for a smooth flowing experience and successful final creation!” says Ludwig. “We try to offer unique classes that our guests normally wouldn't create at home.”
There is a remarkable amount of planning that goes into each class, but you would not know it. Ludwig says once they create each recipe, they post the classes to their website and go into their commercial kitchen to portion out the ingredients and pack and ship the boxes, ensuring it gets to you before your class. Brent is key in the business logistics and is an aerospace engineer by day and excellent with research development.
“He configured the camera set up and zoom/OBS streaming for the classes. He also developed the eco-friendly ingredient bags and packaging for shipping, which took months of trial, error and research to get us to this point,” explains Ludwig. “We make a very good team. I can't do what he does for the business and vise versa.”
The entire household is encouraged to come together to participate in the class, and recipes are scaled in a manner for a couple guests to taste and enjoy.
“We love to see families get on together and create something wonderful, whether they are in the same house or across the country! We have the pleasure of seeing parents and their kids (little or adult) creating memories together,” says Ludwig. “Couples enjoying a well needed date night and laughing together along the way. Grandparents going outside their comfort zone to do an online class and falling in love with this new found hobby. Sweet Moments Company is all about connection."
Sweet Moments Company is located in Mesa; 602.671.3500; www.smcoaz.com