Jossie Perlmutter was spending her days behind a desk studying engineering at the University of Miami when she decided to make a radical career change. She harbored a love of baking and art, and had dreams of owning her own business from a young age. Those dreams have come to fruition with the opening of Sweet Affairs, her very own dessert and wedding cake catering company that features unique contemporary flavors coupled with classic desserts.
After Jossie Perlmutter decided to switch majors, she graduated with a degree in Entrepreneurship and shortly after, embarked to go master her craft at the Ecole Nationale Superiieure de Patisserie in Yssingeaux, France. A year in, a former colleague from a restaurant in her hometown of Rockville, Maryland, saw photographs of her gorgeous pastries and contacted her. He offered Perlmutter a job as a pastry chef in his new high-end Charlotte restaurant. Once she moved back to the states, Perlmutter also honed her food-service skills at Heirloom, where she says she changed her dessert menu twice a week, and featured over 100 different types of sweet treats.
One of the most valuable things that’s come out of working at two of Charlotte’s best-known eateries for Perlmutter is that she says she has “really learned to gauge what makes someone happy when it comes to the final course.”
It was at The Asbury, where Perlmutter still works as pastry chef, that things began really falling into place for her dream of owning her own dessert catering company. At The Asbury, Perlmutter connected with Ed Price, a Charlottean who heads the culinary program at Project 658. Project 658 provides services to refugees and other members of the Charlotte community who find themselves in need of assistance. They feature a 12-week culinary program to prepare students for all aspects of restaurant work. Inspired by the work, Perlmutter began to volunteer, and taught her pastry skills to the various students.
And Project 658 gave back to Perlmutter, too. They allowed her to use their professional kitchen facilities which was the impetus for her ability to launch her new venture Sweet Affairs.
Perlmutter is carving her niche. She utilizes her advantages as a small independent business – Perlmutter is able to be extremely flexible and loves to offer clients personalized service.
“Client input is considered from start to finish – I aim to understand the look and feel of each specific event and integrate that into the design and flavors, whether I’m making a simple and elegant cake or smaller, more artistic desserts,” she says. “With each new client, I first schedule a consultation and tasting. Each is unique, and I want to make sure they get exactly what they want for their event. We talk through all of the details, from what the venue itself looks like to what the rest of the menu consists of.”
One of Perlmutter’s favorite parts of the job is playing with combinations of flavors and textures. She says it not only allows her to be creative, but it also allows her to find the perfect pairing that, when done right, is sheer bliss. Perlmutter says the look on a customer’s face when they bite into a pastry made perfect for them is all the reward she needs.
I love that I can take an event that’s already special, and make it even more memorable.
Perlmutter dabbles with lesser-used flavor pairings and integrates a wide range of fresh seasonal ingredients, like passion fruit, blood orange, and mango. She also taps into beloved classics that she can adapt as her own, like the childhood flavorings of campfire s’mores or ballgame Cracker Jacks.
Building a business from the ground up and slowly creating the foundation behind a brand is no small task. But the joy that her art brings – to a child biting into a chocolate pastry, a room of guests savoring the perfectly baked wedding cake, or a mother-to-be opening a big box of baby shower petit-fours – is what fuels Jossie Perlmutter. For more information visit Sweet Affairs at sweetaffairsclt.wix.com/restaurant.