It’s not everyone’s grandmother who cooked for a Hungarian Baron, but that was part of Teri Valentine’s inspiration. “We spent the whole summer with her when I was in third or fourth grade. She was obsessed with cooking and made everything from scratch according to her own recipes. She was very independent -- she didn’t even have a washing machine, because no machine was going to tell her when her clothes were clean!”
Her grandmother’s influence was so strong that when Teri was doing a cooking project in Girl Scouts and the recipe called for canned ingredients, “I cried because I didn’t want to use anything canned.”
Her mother and stepfather were in the wholesale meat business in Sacramento, so “we knew everyone in the restaurant business, and we ate very well,” Teri remembers.
The Perfect Bite Co. grew out of Teri’s experiences as a catering manager for Disneyland and owning TasteBuds, a restaurant, catering and to-go company. She knows both the satisfactions and the tribulations of those businesses.
“I had no idea what I was getting into when I started catering. I just loved to cook. My first breakfast catering job, I squeezed the orange juice, using a little hand juicer that did half an orange at a time…for 500 people….two days in a row!”
Teri’s husband John wanted to own a bar, so they opened a bar at the Toluca Lake Tennis Club, near Warner Brothers movie studio, and also opened the TasteBuds restaurant. “We put our bite-sized signature pastries in the pastry basket. They were compliments of the house.”
The Pastry Kisses were wildly popular; people started coming in especially for them. When Teri, John and their partner Joe Forristal solved the technical difficulties of delivering their delicious pastry pockets in oven-safe, disposable (and recyclable) baking trays, Joe booked The Perfect Bite Co. for a booth at the Fancy Food Show. They were a huge hit.
Pastry Kisses are made in smaller batches, using all natural ingredients. The dairy products have no hormones in them. The flavors are classics with a twist. “We want dinner guests to say, “What is in this wonderful pastry?’ so that whether they’re a home cook or a caterer or a restaurant owner, they’ll be proud of this product.”
“Baking them yourself makes a huge difference—the fresh smell and taste. The main thing is that we never compromise—it’s all about the flavor. They taste as if you have a cook in the back doing this for you, so even though our Pastry Kisses are very little work, it feels like you’ve done everything yourself!”