“She ate the whole thing.” It was light and buttery, filled with velvety vanilla bean-infused custard cream, dipped in rich ganache and garnished with a sprinkling of crispy dark chocolate pearls. The cream puff was so irresistible that even after a long day of making her rounds at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival (Sobefest), and tasting countless delicacies from the world’s top chefs and spirits producers, Martha Stewart could not resist finishing the entire pastry. She didn’t say much, but the look of delight on her face and her actions spoke volumes. Feeding Martha the cream puff is something that Chef Brendan Jones says he will never forget and is one of his fondest professional memories.
“I was born to be a chef” – Chef Brendan Jones
While in Michigan, Brendan was presented with opportunities to help open a new restaurant and manage private events, primarily in Front of House capacities. Instead of returning to college, Brendan worked in various food & beverage positions for the following 15 years. At some point, Brendan began to contemplate having his own restaurant, but recognized that his culinary skills would need to be sharpened. With this in mind, he decided to attend the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he graduated two years later with an associate degree. To culminate his culinary program at Johnson & Wales, Brendan was accepted at the École Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts in Paris, France where he completed a six-month exchange program. He describes his education at both institutions as “incredible.”
Originally conceived purely as an outlet for second-quality desserts and an after-thought lunch stop for employees, Café Sweet Street as it is now called, has blossomed into a stylish restaurant with its own loyal customer base. Chef Brendan Jones has transformed the café into a beloved lunch destination, earning rave TripAdvisor 5.5 star reviews, which rank it #15 of 275 restaurants in Reading, PA (tripadvisor.com). The core menu is inspired by classic café favorites and is created by Chef Brendan who injects his own contemporary twists. Brendan is dedicated to using the freshest, most flavorful ingredients and providing imaginative, “soul-satisfying” cuisine (sweetstreet.com). There is a “retro and re-imagined classics” quality to the café offerings that echoes Sweet Street’s approach to desserts.
When asked what his favorite things are to cook, Chef Brendan answers that he most enjoys making spicy, ethnic foods. If he could cook a meal for anyone, he jokes that it would be the Avengers. Kidding aside, the imaginative menu at Café Sweet Street is clearly the creation of someone who really loves food. Brendan says his primary motivator, however, is not the food. Smiles from guests and employees are what he finds most gratifying about his work. It is a people business and it is Chef Brendan’s family, friends, customers and colleagues that inspire him. One thing is for sure: Sweet Street and Chef Brendan will continue to surprise us with fresh, inventive products that set industry standards. And just like Martha, we won’t be able to resist.