What’s Makes Us Sweet
Welcome to our dreamy-delicious world of Sweet Cheeks Baking Co., a Women-Owned & Operated small business, baking cakes & desserts for weddings & special celebrations for San Diego & Southern California! It’s been incredible to be a part of our clients’ continuing celebrations for a decade already. Our clients become our friends, and we continue creating the showpiece cakes & goodies – not only for your weddings but for years of baby showers, 1st birthdays, graduations, and so on…
We started our company on a shoestring budget in early 2007, as two friends who had cooked & baked for as long as we can recall standing upright. We used a friend’s apartment to test recipes, next rented space in a pretzel bakery, and finally found our own kitchen, where we’ve been ever since. We’re not a storefront, so please be sure to call prior to popping by – we’d love to have a snack for you when you pick up your orders 🙂
Through the years, our favorite recipes have come from the strong women of our lives (moms, grandmas, aunts, and friends), and we’ve created others along the way. We incorporate top quality ingredients of local butter, cage-free local chicken eggs, local organic field lavender, whole wheat flour, flaxseed & wheat germ, farmers market berries, French nut & fruit purees, and single sourced/ sustainable chocolates.
Our style is CLEAN and elegant, organic & natural, fun & flirty (or “down-n-dirty,” depending on your needs). We customize for your event & taste, based on your vision & our artistic license. Our passion lies in EXCELLENCE of artistry, taste, and service. Our love is people-pleasing.
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“We LOVE What We Do!”
We LOVE what we do and what we produce, and it shows to our clients & industry friends through our amazing Cheeks team (sometimes it shows if we skip Pilates & workout classes too!) The name “Sweet Cheeks” came from a former nickname for Elaine years ago (HEY, it wasn’t THAT long ago…), and we felt it best represented our love of sweets & fun. We take orders seriously but not ourselves. “The Right Cheek” and “The Left Cheek” names were coined by Donna – “Elaine is always right, and I’m always left in the kitchen…” and thus the titles stuck.
Meet the 2 Cheeks
Donna Cellere aka “Left
Donna Cellere, AKA “The Left Cheek” – Spent years cooking high-volume with the NAVY and was hand-selected to work at The White House under President Bill Clinton and again for President G.W. Bush. Donna has wowed guests at the French Embassy in Washington, DC as well as the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo. Elaine calls her The MACHINE, as she has the most amazing work-horse ethics and will “never assign a task she wouldn’t do herself.” Incredibly loyal & generally reserved as a friend & employer, she is also a spitfire with one-liners when you’re not paying attention…
Elaine Ardizzone aka “Right Cheek”
Elaine Ardizzone, AKA “The Right Cheek” – Shares her creativity in style, flavors, and background. As a graduate of Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and former restaurant owner, she has started up & operated businesses for three decades. A Certified Sommelier, Elaine earned the highest score of her class at the World Trade Center in 1995; her sense of taste goes beyond cake. Donna knows to accept this Right Cheek’s scattered brain waves, as they usually create something really great…despite the somewhat backwards way they come up. Rather obvious and extremely loyal, she is known for her Monday “Board meetings” (Paddleboard, that is) with industry friends and for doing whatever she can for her family, friends, employees, clients, and fellow vendors. And yes, the buck typically stops right here…
Da Boys (Our Other Halves)
Our biggest thanks go out to our husbands, two of the most patient & loving men around. They have endlessly supported us by scooping batter, building shelves, fixing computers, calling plumbers, cuddling fake cats, and of course paying bills, allowing us to create our passion! “Geek Cheek” and “Jack of all Cheeks,” we salute you!
Team Cheeks: Lead Decorator Kaitlynn Regan; Head Baker Jeff Lewis; HQ Office Control Kayla Kranz; Wedding Guru Lauren Rennie; Baking & Cupcake Wizardess Melanie Waymire; Nighttime BakeMaster Jeffrey Scott Mays; Across-the-Board Awesome Gjaidan Stewart – You guys all ROCK!
Our Client Relation Specialists
AKA Those with “Direct Dealings”
Call it HQ, or call it the Home, our office meets, greets, answers, and emails to hundreds of people daily and handles the endless stream of questions, order requests, budget issues, and last-minute beggars. These beauties entice the masses, manage so much, and please so many. These are the “voices” and the “faces” most seen at the bakery, the lovelies who take great care of details but aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
Known for her incredibly CALM demeanor on the phone, even with telemarketers, Kayla keeps the office under control daily. Known for her ability to figure out ANYTHING technical when none of us cake-brains has a clue, she covers the gamut of helping with not only Administration, Client Guidance, 2nd Geek in Command, and perfect extra set of eyes for all random questions.
She is also our “House Vegan. Taste-Tester”
AKA “Wedgal,” Lauren is our key contact for clients planning their Big Day! She is our Wedding Guru, who patiently satisfies even the fussiest of clients with her grace & delicate hand to beauty. Lauren sought out an Admin position originally, having worked for Nordstrom’s (incredible training in Customer Service & attention to detail), but we ended up creating a new position for her due to her passion for the craft of BEAUTY – with cakes, dessert stations, and flowers.
Baking & Production Team
The HEART of our world starts in the kitchen. They mix, whip, fluff, cream, create, build, pipe, and master all sense of flavor & design challenges…through heat, chill, urgency, and laughter.
Raised in a family of classic bakers and a wedding cake mom, Jeff then trained and worked in United States Air Force for 20 years. Now he is our HEAD Baker, lucky for us! He steps into every job with enthusiasm and ideas – OH, how valuable that is, finding solutions with the COOLEST methods of baking greatness! He creates delicious fun, whether he’s sculpting a chocolate Yoda, suggesting time-saving methods for buttercream, or torching mini lemon meringue pies.
Jeffrey Scott Mays
Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Jeffrey!!! ..has a kind soul and a gift for both baking & music! A former rock band drummer and singer, Jeffrey came to us via a top bread bakery in Boston who was devastated to lose him. Wow, were WE in luck to get him! Generous with his time, his assistance, and his skills, he brings terrific dedication and precision to our very specific world of baking. You can usually find Jeffrey running the night baking.
Baking Princess & Cupcake Embellisher Mel carries pressure with the grace of an angel – unflinching and cool, never visibly phased by high stress orders and last minute add-ons. She masters every technique that we ask her to learn and then presents it to clients with a smile! There is no job she won’t tackle…especially if it allows her to wear Mouse Ears.
After meeting Genie for the first time, we already knew she was the perfect addition to our team. Then she stopped in with her DARLING little daughter Cheyenne… Oh my gosh, they both let down their incredible curly hair, and this twosome seriously stole our hearts!
Genie has helped us to speed up production & delivery of both wholesale desserts & wedding cakes and is truly a gem in the kitchen. She come from an extensive cooking background and has a gift for flavors and fast-paced production.
Design & Decor Team
Straight out of culinary school after a brief stint of painting TOM’s shoes, Kaitlynn (or “KR”) found herself in a flurry of expectation when 2 lead decorators ahead of her unexpectedly had to move away. She has since grown into the position of LEAD Decorator with incredible grace, patience, and precision. Her attention to detail is incredible, and her skills with a paintbrush drop jaws!! She is a calming energy in the bakery who makes magic and jokes at every turn. Her artistry has grown to STUNNING perfection over the years with us.
Jessica Swaringen Abat
Whatever color Jess’s hair is each day doesn’t matter…purple, pink, grey, blue, all look terrific on her (and it just shows her artistic side)! Jessica’s cake sculpting skills and kind soul resonate in every cake she creates on our Décor Team. Formerly at Flour Power Bakery, she joined our team with enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. She’s become a pro at kicking it into gear when urgencies pop up (what urgencies? In the Wedding Biz? Oh stop… )
Boston coming in STRONG!!! Meet Diane, a recent transplant from the Boston area (and the kick-ass accent to prove it) and an awesome addition in the summer of 2018 to our Cheeks team. She’s barely 5’3” and skinny as a rail, but don’t kid yourself…this lady can lift the heaviest of cakes and proves it now every weekend at wedding deliveries. A trained powerlifter, she can pick up not only the 40# cake but the wedding coordinator with it! Diane adds speed, smarts, and smiles to our kitchen – she uses similar methodology to her work with cakes as she does during her lifting sessions. Both require focus, dedication, and practice to be perfect. You can find her most weekdays cutting out & filling cakes, then on weekends meeting with clients and setting up & beautifying those big, yummy cakes and dessert stations. We couldn’t be happier to have her here! What a fantastic new member of Team Cheeks!
The Rest of our Team (T.R.O.O.T.)
We would be remiss to forget the man & his company www.INFIX.us who helped make 2016 a much brighter year than anticipated…thank you, Andy, for showing us the path to scrapping all those silly menu items that were killing us!
The Cheeks in Pictures
OUR SILLY STORY ON FOOD NETWORK finding us:
Seriously, my cell phone rang, and I thought it was a joke. “WHO is this?” I kept asking…not believing the person on the other line who kept saying, “blah, blah, blah,…TV Producer…blah, blah…FOOD NETWORK…” My cell # was of course not listed, so it was a shock + a half! Apparently, they’d seen us present at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival and win “BEST DESSERT OF THE FEST” during our first month in business. I’d forgotten that our hanging banners at the booth listed our only phone number = my cell.
We were asked to be on the “Road Tasted with the Neelys” series, which focused on companies around the US who ship their products… Well, we not only didn’t ship but didn’t even have a website yet! But who says “NO” to FOOD NETWORK??? So we said we’d get them the info they needed ASAP. This involved building a website WITH a storefront page that WORKED (a FREE one, since we had no money) as well as creating PACKAGING for these said items we planned to ship…What the heck did we even make that we could ship across country without it dying in transit???
Thus the Chewy Chocolate Cheeks were born. When the show aired, we didn’t even have the packaging yet, so when my cell phone started ringing at 4am with the orders from the east coast viewers, I started to panic. Scoopers unite! We started scooping those cookies and packing them in vacuum bags, hoping that we could fend off the orders until the packaging came through. Well, it all sorted itself out, and we got through the madness.
After that, we were called by FOOD NETWORK for a few years once to participate in “Cupcake Wars!” We aren’t much for TV competitions, but Krista asked if she could step up and do it if we got the request again…the rest is history, as many people continue to appear in our “Appointment Only” door, just to say hi, ask to meet Krista, and buys some cupcakes!
Absolutely, Positively, Unbelievably,
The Best Cake Around