Sarah Michelle Gellar didn't always know how to bake. But now she's the cofounder of Foodstirs, a company that delivers organic DIY baking mixes to your door. Her story is proof that you can make a complete career switch or pursue an unfamiliar field if it's something you're passionate enough about. I caught up with Sarah at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Centre in San Francisco, where she was awarded the honour of ringing the Nasdaq Closing Bell surrounded by dozens of other entrepreneurs, to chat about the inspiration behind Foodstirs; her upcoming cookbook, Stirring Up Fun With Food; what she thinks every millennial should know how to bake; and — most importantly — what she and her husband, Freddie Prinze Jr., like to cook at home with their adorable kids.
"We thought, 'If we don't do it, someone else is going to do it.'"
With a motto of "Put down the phone, pick up a whisk!" Foodstirs encourages families to get in the kitchen together to inspire creativity and create something new. "The inspiration was really our children," Sarah told me. "You want your children to learn to love the food and also a respect for the earth and where ingredients come from and that food does not come out of a machine. The easiest way to get [our children] in the kitchen was baking, which was not something I had any experience with. So we went to the store to go get a mix — there was no way we were going to do anything from scratch — and we looked at the ingredients and we were like, 'Wait a second. I'm not feeding my child this.' And then we looked around and it was either one end of the spectrum — either all dyes and ingredients I wouldn't want to use, or it lost taste. So we were like, 'Where is that entree for the modern consumer?' And we realised it wasn't out there. And we thought, 'If we don't do it, someone else is going to do it.'"
Sarah Michelle Gellar and her business partner Galit Laibow are the masterminds behind Foodstirs's creative baking kits, like hot cocoa brownie cupcakes, ombré pancakes (with dye-free food colouring), and frosted cake pops. "I'm the crafty one. I love to come up with these crazy concepts," Sarah said. The best part? "It's all organic, dye-free, preservative-free, non-GMO, and kosher. And our mixes are actually vegan," Sarah added.
Even if you're not the most talented baker, Sarah promises there are five basics you can (and should) learn how to master. When I asked about five things every millennial should know how to bake, Sarah said, "It's funny, that's why we made our five initial kit mixes. Your cake, cupcake, chocolate chip cookie, brownie, and sugar cookie. So if you're inexperienced and you just want something sweet, then you make that." No need to attempt homemade French macarons.
Sarah's culinary skills don't stop at baking, and she has an upcoming cookbook that's proof. Stirring Up Fun With Food, out in April 2017, is a collection of 100-plus ways to get creative in the kitchen with both sweet and savoury recipes. "The whole idea behind it was just getting more creative and using the kitchen as a jumping-off point for conversations, for creativity — that's what the world is made up of," Sarah said. "It's themed month by month, and it gives you ideas and reasons to get in the kitchen. And it's not just baking; it's recipes. [Freddie Prinze Jr.] will make an appearance in my book as well."
Speaking of, Sarah isn't the only cook in the family; Freddie's got his own cookbook that's full of Southwestern recipes inspired by his New Mexico roots. As for the couple's favourite things to cook together with their kids? Pizza, for one. "Let's clarify this — I'm a cook, and he's a chef," Sarah laughed. "He does more of the main courses for the meal and I do all of the festive stuff and the side dishes. And we bring the kids in, so really for us it's about family time. We put our phones away. The other night we had a pizza party. We just got all different kinds of dough, and we let the kids go out at the farmers market and pick anything they wanted to put on their pizza, and you learn about people's individuality from that. One of our kids wanted olives, and I want mushrooms, and this one wants pepperoni. . . . It was hands, and it was creativity, and then it tasted great."