Laura Oppenheimer, of Eat Dessert First, is AWCB’s newest sponsor. AWCB Secretary Nicole Wilder had a chance to do a quick interview with Laura to see where she got her start.
How did you get started in the cake business?
I grew up near San Francisco and was surrounded by food from an early age. In our house, life centered around food-preparing it, talking about it, eating it, then analyzing what we had eaten. My parents were interested in fine foods and took us to some of the famous restaurants of the area. We were constantly cooking and baking in the kitchen. I wanted to share a piece of me and where I come from with my children and then it just turned into something that I was doing for my neighbors. I started a career in marketing and communications but sharing a piece of my California with my family and community in Belgium was something I had dreamed about. It became a passion project for me - I wanted to share special high quality American desserts here.
What brought you to Belgium?
My husband is Belgian and we came here 17 years ago. About 6 years ago, I had a shift in work and my daughter was diagnosed with a pretty serious health problem. Once she got better, I decided to go ahead and start my business.
How does your business work?
I have a workshop in my residential home and produce only to order. My initial idea was to be a supplier to local businesses. I work with Rob The Gourmet’s Market, Filigranes Bookstore, and the Royal Theatre of Brussels. During COVID, there wasn’t a big demand from the bigger businesses. I offered free delivery to individual customers, reconfigured my webshop and that sector of the business just took off. I now do a lot of big celebrations and birthday cakes as well as supplying businesses. This Thanksgiving, we made large numbers of pies for Rob in Woluwe. I also now have 2 part-time employees. On a slow day, I have 5-6 orders to get ready.
What does the future look like for your business?
Now that COVID is pretty much past us, I am starting back up with supplying orders for bigger businesses. I continue to deliver my carrot cakes to Rob every Thursday, decorated gingerbread and sugar cookies for the holiday season, as well as pancakes on a regular basis. I am hopeful that I will be working with The Royal Theatre of Brussels and FIligranes again. I also just signed up to supply for a few branches of Carrefour. I will be at Woluwe-Saint-Lambert Commune’s Marché de Noel December 9-11 with cookies and slices of cake.
Finally, I’m very pleased to be a part of the AWCB as a member and a sponsor. I look forward to baking for you all soon!
Visit the Eat Dessert First website to discover more and order some amazing desserts!