Sweet as its name: the story behind Sweet Jazmine’s

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By Emma Clarke, Staff Reporter

Not even a mile away from Conestoga lies Sweet Jazmine’s, a small bakery with a much larger story behind it. The bakery was opened over 20 years ago today by Chef Kimberly Cuthbert, ’Stoga alumna and mother to sophomore Jordan Cuthbert. Cuthbert originally pursued a degree in accounting at James Madison University, but her love for baking took the lead and she decided to attend the Culinary Institute of America shortly after.

After spending a few years as a pastry chef at the Four Seasons Hotel, Cuthbert decided to go not far from her hometown roots and open up Sweet Jazmine’s in Berwyn. Although Cuthbert’s culinary career was not always at the forefront, baking has been a lifelong interest of hers.

“My mom didn’t bake, my dad didn’t bake. I had relatives that baked and I just gravitated towards the kitchen instinctively. It was kind of relaxing and therapeutic,” Kim said.

Now graduated from home to professional ovens, Sweet Jazmine’s has made a strong name for itself nationally. The bakery has been featured on The Rachel Ray Show, as well as USA Today. Additionally, Sweet Jazmine’s has continuously won awards such as “Best of the Knot,” “Best of Philly,” “Best of the Main Line” and “Philly’s Hot List.” Despite the chaos of running such a successful bakery, Cuthbert is able to maintain her lifestyle through sticking to her principles set at the founding of her bakery: baking from scratch and making sure she gives ample time to her friends and family.

“I feel like (baking from scratch) is a dying art. I feel like I’m one of the last – not that it’s unique to me – but I feel with a precedence of all of these cooking shows, because it’s entertaining for people, it kind of highlights that everything is fast and easy and the decoration seems to be the highlight rather than the baking and the complexity of the flavors. I’m into the flavors,” Kim said.

Baking from scratch does have its downfalls, such as expensive ingredients and customers who don’t understand the higher prices of Sweet Jazmine’s products compared to the ones in the grocery store. However, Kim does not let this stand in the way of her goals.

“I would sooner shut down the business than have to take shortcuts because I couldn’t feel good about what I was selling. I’m not a good salesperson, I just believe in my product. Scratch baking is a hard thing to maintain and a lot of people don’t do scratch baking because there are so many variables that could go wrong,” Kim said.

Kim was additionally adamant on not sacrificing her role in her family for Sweet Jazmine’s.

“I try to be more mindful that I can do this again, but I can’t raise my son again – I can’t get that time back. Even the way I set up my business, we’re not open on Sundays while a lot of bakeries are, which I did intentionally because I thought, ‘I need to be able to be a mom and a wife and a daughter,’” Kim said.

The time spent with her family, especially with her son Jordan, has helped Sweet Jazmine’s as well. When Jordan was young, he did not enjoy Kim’s homemade sweet potato puree, spurring the creation of her various sweet potato baked goods. Today, Kim’s sweet potato muffins are one of Sweet Jazmine’s most popular items. In the future, Kim is interested in scaling up the product to a Starbucks or Whole Foods, as well as doing some consulting or writing a cookbook.

“I even have a title – ‘Sweet Jazmines: The Recipe for Life,’ and just kind of weave my stories as an entrepreneur and the good, the bad and the ugly that comes with the business because I think most people just want to highlight every moment that’s perfect so I’d kind of like to give people some insight and give them advice that I wish I’d had, like a mentor,” Kim said.

As Jordan has helped the bakery, he finds that it helps him as well.

“Sweet Jazmine’s has made me want to work hard because I have seen the amount of hard work that (Kim) puts into the shop and that motivates me to work hard in whatever I do,” Jordan said.


Emma Clarke can be reached at [email protected]