When Kimberly Reiner (JD '95) and Jenna Sanz-Agero (JD '95) were students at the Pepperdine School of Law, neither expected their careers to turn toward the kitchen.
The duo met as law school classmates, developing a friendship that extended beyond the classroom and into their professional lives. After completing law school, Reiner practiced immigration law with Tindall & Foster in Houston, married, and eventually welcomed her son, Alex, into her life in 1999. Sanz-Agero joined MDP Worldwide, where she served as an in-house business affairs attorney for the company. She stepped away from MDP for short time, developing her own firm, Business Affairs, Inc. Jenna then returned to MDP, now Media 8 Entertainment, as head of business affairs and before becoming company president, a role she held until 2006. In addition to her legal work, Sanz-Agero began a career as lead singer for the rock group, Vixen, in 2001.
Though their paths were very different, Reiner and Sanz-Agero's reunion couldn't have been more fitting.
After returning to Los Angeles in 2005, Reiner established Momma Reiner's Fudge following some coaxing from community members convinced her that her fudge concoctions needed to be on the market.
"The whole idea came from me wanting to carry on the traditions of my childhood to my son," Reiner said. "My mom and I used to make fudge around the holidays when I was a child, and I wanted my son to experience that as well."
Then came the phone call.
While sitting in a carpool line waiting to pick Alex up from school, Reiner made a phone call to reconnect with Sanz-Agero. That phone call led to a lunch meeting where the two discussed Momma Reiner's Fudge and the possibility of collaborating on a cookbook.
"Jenna was extremely supportive," Reiner said. "She was on board the whole way."
But the partnership was put on hold as Sanz-Agero prepared to welcome her own child into the world.
When the two came together again, they began collecting recipes from all over the country, and recording the stories associated with each recipe they had collected. Sanz-Agero had inherited her grandmother's recipes, while Reiner had a collection of her own from family members that included the fudge. That history helped them to connect with other people who had treasured family recipes, and led to the 2011 release of their book, Sugar, Sugar: Every Recipe Has a Story, and a book tour that has continued through 2012.
With endorsements from Oprah, Rachael Ray, and Martha Stewart, as well as an appearance on NBC's Today, and a variety of local broadcasts, "The Sugar Mommas," as they've labeled themselves, have found success in one of the most unlikely ways. And despite their busy schedules, which includes Sanz-Agero's legal practice and her continued role as lead singer for Vixen, the duo is working on a second book, which includes more dessert recipes from throughout the country. In addition, their first e-book, Home for the Holidays, was released on Amazon.com in December, the first in a series of blog posts composed from the more than six years they've served as correspondents on ModernMom.com.
"It really has been a great journey," Reiner said. "We plan to keep it going."