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Sweets and Cie

Sweets and Cie

Isn’t it strange that it is always in the darkest moments that we search to feel supported in all that we do? Whether by loved ones or in health or financial stability, the darkest moments show us what we are truly missing. Here is a story of a brand that found its calling during one of the most isolating moments in this decade, a worldwide pandemic. Her search was to give to her community in a way that only she knew how; through sweet and salty, let me introduce you to Jaimée.

Who is Jaimée? Jaimée is a I play on my name Marie Josee (MJ reversed). It is food that embodies my drive for love, kindness, and empathy, which is why I chose to make desserts. I wanted to share food with people. I wanted them to enjoy something as basic as a sweet treat and not feel bad about it. I wanted to do things differently and so I put that into my food.

Jaimee is a manifestation of my transformation in life. Who I wanted to be was not necessarily the person I learned to be. This brand was like creating myself, this is me!

How was Jaimée born: I worked in restaurants for over 20 years, you could say that I am a sweet expert, I see it as pursuing my passion. I really love to create delicious things in creative ways that we don’t find in grocery stores, outside the box, so I use ingredients such as organic sugar, cheese and chocolate, allspice, rose petals, strawberry, peanut butter, and there you have it! I believe this expression comes from my heritage, culture, and the world around me.

How was Covid a silver lining: I have been making sweets for years but before Covid, I was giving cooking classes and working in Product development for a company. When Covid hit I started thinking, what do I want to do? Someone said to me, why don’t you start making food for people, so I set up an affordable prêt à manager service in July of 2020. I was cooking twice a week, a main course and side desert for $10, it was fun and vegetarian. Through interactions I realized that I could get financing to build my vision. Once approved I began to create and develop Jaimee. One thing led to another and I opened a pastry shop, this is really what I wanted to be doing.

Had it not been for Covid, I would still be teaching and employed. Turning my kitchen into a community space that helps women and people from socio-economically challenged groups was the best thing ever. I began Fundraisers and workshops. I was bringing something to my community, and it felt really good. It’s weird to say but Covid allowed me to do something that brought community together.

What is your vision: I am Hoping… no. I intend to get the brand known to people around me so that they can enjoy nonconventional sweets. I try to use ingredients that nourish you so that you can feel good about eating a snack. I want to be as supportive and eco-friendly as I can.

What was challenging about this journey? My stress and anxiety. There was no real hardest thing to overcome; it was all about being patient and knowing that the process is one thing at a time. It took about 5 months to start, it could’ve taken less time but because of how Covid changed things I was forced to go slower which ultimately, was a good thing. I tend to want to go far fast and so trusting was an important thing for me during this process. This is the first business that I opened up on my own, I always had partners in the past, but this was just me.

What is your favourite creation: Making candy, working with caramel, nougat, toffee… all of these take time and attention; a certain temperature, the myriad of ways that you can change that one product is magical. Once the toffee is laid out, you can put anything on it, chocolate, pretzels, apples etc. I don’t know if it makes sense but making candy is rustic to me.

It can be stressful and exhausting but I am determined to make it as fun and happy as I could. One thing to know about being in the cooking industry is that it is tough; you must deal with a lot of high-pressure situations from clients, colleagues and your boss. People are very demanding; bosses are severe; this was something that I wanted to unlearn. I did not want that stress in my kitchen, and so I opened it up to the public. 

The combination of people, food and my passion has taught me how to be gentle, kind and loving.

Who if anyone was an inspiration: The spark may have come from my mother; she was always in the kitchen. Since being a child, I have always had the urge to be creative, but I didn’t know what. I couldn’t draw, sing, dance, or do sports but I knew that I had an artistic side. I was academically strong but did not know what I was good at. A few years ago, my first husband and I opened up a coffee shop. At one point I questioned, why are we spending so much money to buy and sell other people’s food. I felt like I could make it myself, so I made my first recipe, a desert and we started selling it.

Later a woman gave me a book called, “The cake bible” and it changed my life forever. I started making recipes and before I knew it, I had found my creative calling!

During the time of my pastry degree, I was doing a stage with Patrice Demers, top pastry chef in Canada. A lot of my teachers would tell me that the food I wanted to make sounded weird, back then mixing salty and sweet was unconventional. I wanted to explore putting blue cheese in a cheesecake, it was unheard of and yet he was doing stuff like that! It reaffirmed that if he could do it then so could I. He gave me the confidence I needed to push me further. 

What lies ahead? I have a lot of projects in mind, I am striving to make this bigger, although not too big. I want to oversee the creation; for the quality of my sweets to stay the same and continue to embody my purpose.

I partnered up with Leapsaver because their story resonated so much with mine. I believe that what they are offering the community is enriching and nicely thought out. I don’t know where it will take me, but I am hoping for success.

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