The pandemic was a lot of things to a lot of people. For Sunnyvale’s Carla Duharte, founder of Fozzie’s Kitchen, it was the beginning of a brand-new business.
“The business plan was put together on our kitchen table during shelter in place,” recalled Duharte. “My husband and I were just home. Our teenage twin girls were at home. No one wanted to go to Walmart to get Fozzie’s kibble because we were sheltered in place. We were just very nervous. So, we were running low on kibble and we’re thinking, I don’t want to go to Walmart. You don’t. So, why don’t we start making some fresh food for Fozzie?”
Duharte wanted to make sure she did it right, so one of the first things she did was search for a pet nutritionist.
“I emailed over 90 vets throughout the United States everywhere,” said Duharte. “I couldn’t find anyone that would want to work with me during the pandemic. Everyone’s just like, ‘No, we’re not taking any customers.’”
But she kept at it and finally found a veterinarian in South Carolina. Duharte and the vet worked together to find a formula that was well-balanced and nutritious for Fozzie. When the recipe was perfected, Carla was ready to share it with others. She got licensed by California’s health board for pet processing and found a commercial kitchen where she could create her mix.
“So, everything is locally purchased. We hit up the farmers market, our local Safeway. Costco, sometimes,” said Duharte.
Both Duharte and her husband work, so Fozzie’s Kitchen is something they do on the side. They, along with their daughters, spend Sunday nights cooking up batches of food for Fozzie and their other customers. Duharte says the memories with her family are what she cherishes most about the business venture, especially since her daughters are headed to college in the fall.
“I could close my eyes and [remember] sitting at the kitchen table, the four of us, listening to music and just making it fun and not worrying about what was going on, what was going to happen with the pandemic,” said Duharte. “For those couple of hours that we were sitting and talking about it, it was just, it was fun. And Fozzie’s sitting next to us. I just remember the whole thing.”
Duharte has plans to grow Fozzie’s Kitchen in the future. She’s looking into the potential of selling Fozzie’s food in local shops and she’s exploring a cat food combination since the family has cats as well.
Until then, she’ll continue to cook up Fozzie’s food and share it with anyone who wants to try.
To order food from Fozzie’s Kitchen, visit the website fozzieskitchen.com. Duharte offers free delivery in Sunnyvale as well as free pickup on Sundays. She also delivers from San Jose to San Mateo for a small fee.