Edgemont Chef Creates Gourmet Meals with Ranch-Grown Products
A desire to make lives easier for busy families inspired a science teacher and her friend to start a gourmet food business. Today, Katie Brunson is the sole owner, but the business is a family affair.
Katie runs Sweet & Sassy Chefs, a family-based small business in Edgemont that offers healthy, nutritious meals gourmet-style, relying on meat and produce grown on their ranch. The focus is on freezer meals, but Sweet & Sassy Chefs also caters a wide variety of events including weddings, birthdays, retirement parties, teacher appreciation days, and corporate trainings.
“Our main service is providing people with great tasting food that is good for them in a convenient way,” Katie says. “This is what makes our frozen meals so popular. Instead of grabbing fast food or finding something lackluster at the grocery store, we are an easy and fast solution for busy individuals and families looking for a satisfying dining experience in the comfort of their own home.”
Balancing Family, Work, & Community
Finding time to successfully operate a business wasn’t easy for Katie. She and husband Sterling tend a large cattle ranch south of Edgemont and are busy raising two children: Allie (12) and Emrey (7). In addition, Katie teaches science at Hot Springs Middle School and values community involvement and youth programs. She serves as president of the Edgemont Chamber of Commerce, the Parents and Leaders 4-H Organization, and both the Edgemont and Hot Springs local farmers markets. In addition, she is one of the leaders of the Cheyenne Rangers local 4-H group in Edgemont, a member of the Fall River County Fair Board, and active in the lead worship group of her church.
“The biggest challenge is finding a balance between being a fun mom, an educational mom, and teaching our children responsibility and accountability,” Katie says.
Where’s the Beef? In the Backyard!
That busy lifestyle fueled the idea for Sweet & Sassy Chefs, which opened for business in April 2017. Katie and a close friend wanted to make it easier for busy families who arrive home late in the evening due to commitments ranging from sporting activities to calving season. When that partner moved further away from their central location, Katie decided to go it alone, relying on fresh beef and produce locally raised and grown on the family ranch. It’s provided her with another level of self-sufficiency and elevated the meals beyond typical grocery store fare.
Katie admits the idea to take Sweet & Sassy Chefs to the next level, hiring employees and building up the brand, is tempting at times, but she is happy with the status quo. “I truly value having my hands on every single item that goes out; in vegetables picked and cleaned, meat packaged and delivered, honey sold, jam delivered, and freezer meals prepared to customer satisfaction,” she remarks.
Farm to Table Dining
Katie’s customer base is centered around Edgemont, extending as far as Gillette, Wyoming. Response to her food has been extremely positive; Sweet & Sassy Chefs sells over 30 dozen breakfast burritos alone every month. Other popular items include cream cheese-stuffed French toast and Mocha Delight cupcakes, which feature a chocolate brownie-like exterior and a cream cheese and chocolate chip filling. Breakfast, individual and family-sized meal entrees, desserts, and side dishes are all available. In addition, Sweet & Sassy Chefs offers meat bundles perfectly suited for freezer storage. A full menu can be found on their website at https://sweetandsassysd.square.site.
The reason for their success is simple, according to Katie.
“Once customers find out about our unique style of growing every item we put into our foods, cooked in a commercial kitchen, flash frozen and then delivered, many never turn back,” she says.
Katie has some words of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to open a business of their own. While marketing is key, not everybody utilizes social media, so it’s important not to put all your eggs in one basket. Mistakes are bound to happen, but perseverance is key.
“Growing pains are acceptable and necessary,” she cautions. “Think outside the box, do not be afraid of failure, and learn from it. Tomorrow is another day, and you can expect better!”