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Getting 'Kon-tent' with your life

Ross Sveback teaches how to make desserts, traditional meals and some fancier dishes during his cooking classes around the cities. Submitted photo

Some people cook to relax after a long day at work, others may work out in the garden or go to their craft corner, but for Afton resident Ross Sveback these stress relievers are his job.

Sveback's business Kon-tent encompasses all of these things and more -- cooking classes, party planning, crafts and gardening among others. Sveback has a daily blog that offers daily tips of the trade, but he also travels around the cities offering cooking classes.

"The cooking has a tendency to be the umbrella over the whole thing, but I don't think there is one thing that I enjoy more than the next," he said. "And the fact that I get to do this for a living now, it just doesn't seem real."

Sveback's latest venture is currently remodeling the Little Red House in downtown Afton as a test kitchen, where he will host cooking demonstrations and private cooking classes.

Sveback has had an interest in all of these various areas since he was a child growing up in a small town.

He spent his childhood helping his grandmother in the kitchen or around the home and that is where his love of these different lifestyle areas developed.

"She was always inviting me over and I was really close with her and just consequently she just started saying 'I want to teach you this' or 'Why don't you come over and help me with this?'" he said. "I found cooking and gardening and all that stuff surrounding home really fascinating and satisfying."

Previously, Sveback ran a business that helped finance various projects in Latin America, but when things changed about a year ago, he had to sit down and think about what it was that he wanted to do.

"What is it that I'm really passionate about? What is it that I really like? I realized that it is this," he said. "Whenever I was stressed out or whenever I was bored, I would always end up going into the kitchen or out into the garden or I'd start crafting and so I thought why don't I try and see if I can make something of this."

Sveback decided to go for it because he wanted to show everyone that cooking and crafts don't have to be as out of reach as a lot of lifestyle shows and cooking shows may make it seem.

"I think a lot of lifestyle shows out there aren't necessarily relatable, and cooking shows get a little too complex for a lot of people," he said. "But everybody is passionate about food. I've never met anyone who doesn't have a particular kind of food that gives them comfort."

Sveback said he has proved he made the right decision because he receives comments daily about his recipes and tips, and that is a good feeling.

"I've developed quite the following and that's a little unexpected to me," he said.

Sveback said he is very excited about his business and about being in Afton, because what he does has very much the same kind of "cache" of "back to basics" values and traditions.

It will still be awhile before Sveback opens his doors to the public, four to six months from now, but Sveback will open them properly.

He is planning a grand opening, a class called "Hor d'ouvres and Do Overs," that will include teaching how to make quick and easy hor d'ouvres. A friend of his, an international make-up artist, will teach what to wear -- and what not to.

"They'll just bring their makeup bags, and they'll learn how to apply their makeup and what makeup to get rid of," he said. "It really is interesting. I would never want to put makeup on, but it's interesting to watch it."

Sveback said he is very excited to do what he loves and show people that these types of things can be a lot of fun.

"I think that it's just about a back to basics," he said. "I think we've gotten into a time when people can't go out to dinner, they can't send things to the cleaner, they can't run to the store and pick up flowers, they are having to learn how to do these things on their own and I think people are starting to realize that there's a lot of joy in that"

Visit Ross Sveback's website,, for tips and recipes. Sveback's next cooking class, "90's Simplistic Mediterranean Menu," will be June 27 from 2-5 p.m. at the Warner-Stellian, 1750 Weir Drive, Woodbury. Cost is $40. To reserve a spot, contact Sveback at

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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