After retiring from her career in biotech sales and marketing, Santa Claran Sandra Dailey decided to follow her passion for baking and cooking. She began devising ways she could create a product people could consume while walking around, and came up with the concept of cobbler cups.
By attending farmer’s markets, art and wine events and various festivals throughout the Bay Area, Dailey’s Sandi’s Cobbler Cups and More found a following.
As a former caterer, Dailey soon began adding items like jambalaya, gumbo and red beans and rice to her menu, and by putting her own spin on Creole classics, Dailey’s food quickly became a hit with visitors and locals.
“I’ve got people who are from New Orleans saying, this is the best gumbo, best jambalaya I’ve ever had,” she said. “I’ve created my spices and I now do catering.”
Tailoring her recipes to her client’s needs, Dailey also offers gluten-free and vegan options of some of her classic dishes and is more than happy to customize a menu for any event with up to 250 guests.
“I enjoy doing what I do,” she said. “I love watching people eat my food and enjoy controlling my growth.”
In recent years Dailey has pulled back from attending many of the farmer’s market events and is sticking to larger festivals and catering while focusing on her partnership with Levi’s Stadium.
Since its opening, Dailey has delivered thousands of her signature cobbler cups using Santa Clara’s Dough-to-Go crusts and hundreds of gallons of gumbo to Levi’s Stadium prior to each 49er home game. This season, however, she’ll be getting her own unbranded kiosk.
“They’re giving me my own concession,” said Dailey. “They’re trying something different … I gave them the menu, we did the tasting and they loved it.”
“I think it’s going to be Southern comfort or Southern soul food,” she continued. “We’re doing gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya, peach cobbler, mixed berry cobbler and cornbread. We’re considering macaroni and cheese, but it’s all coming down to cost.”
Although she wants to stay small, Dailey said she hopes to make some additions to her menu focusing on Southern staples like collard greens, smothered pork chops and smoked turkey necks, and eventually would like to move out of the commercial kitchen she rents in Campbell and into her own space. But, regardless of what the future holds, Dailey said she loves being a small Santa Clara business.
“Being a small business in Santa Clara allows me to get more personal with people and talk to other small businesses, and just being able to grow in a town that I’ve lived in for 30 years,” she said. “I’ve seen the change in our city and it makes me even more excited to be a small business, and I want to stay small. I like being a small business because it allows me to be in touch, communication with, understand other small businesses.”
In addition to her own business, Dailey advocates for local small businesses and stadium vendors, often positioning herself as the middleman between Santa Clara’s City Council and 49ers management. It’s a role she has gladly taken on, as she believes she can help facilitate change as part of the many ways she gives back to the community.
Daily, who is active in her church and on the board of San Jose’s African American Community Services Agency, said she’s always looking for ways to continue giving back, which includes the annual Dailey’s Day of Thanks event she and her husband host at their Santa Clara home.
“This will be our 12th year,” she said. “We open our house up to family, friends, people we’ve met, and they come to our house the Saturday before Thanksgiving. We bless the food at 1 o’clock and we convert our house and backyard into an open house where we seat about 90 people. We put a jumpy house in the backyard and we host a Thanksgiving … We have everyone, because people are always asking what they can bring, bring a dessert to share and a beverage for 10.”
To learn more details about Dailey’s Day of Thanks and Sandi’s Cobbler Cups and More, like Dailey on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SandisCobblerCups or visit www.sandiscatering.com, Dailey’s new website which will be launching soon.