Though he’s only 22 years old, Jeremiah Josey has already accomplished a lot. He’s worked alongside chefs like Kwame Onwuachi, Marcus Samuelsson, and Christina Tosi. Josey is also diagnosed as autistic, and along with his mother Simone Greggs, wrote a children’s book on autism, Here’s What I Want You to Know. He’s writing a second book, this one about the Black Lives Matter movement. And somewhere in there, he found time to walk the runway at New York Fashion Week.
“I think what the restaurant industry might not understand about individuals with autism is that it’s just way different [for us],” explains Josey. “The pace and the way we work is different. The restaurant industry might require things a certain way and [people] don’t realize it can be a little different for individuals with disabilities, in terms of pace and everything of the sort.”
Although currently based in Maryland, Josey hopes to one day permanently relocate to New York, a city he has been to “countless times,” and whose pastry shops he loves and admires. Here are some of his favorite Black-owned bakeries and shops in the city.
The Harlem bakery serves apple turnovers, sweet potato pies, and excellent croissants. It’s owned and operated by Aliyyah Baylor, whom Josey collaborated with a few years ago on a “cooking adventure” video released on the young pastry chef’s own YouTube channel. “Harlem is known for its history, music, and great food,” says Josey. “So I was honored when Aliyyah accepted my request to work together.”
Sisters Courtney Blagrove and Zan B.R. own the ice cream shop on Orchard Street, which also offers plant-based, vegan, and dairy-free options—including one of Josey’s favorites, the cinnamon apple crisp featuring a dairy-, egg-, nut-, soy-, and gluten-free base. “Released in honor of Juneteenth, the shop’s ‘Taste of Freedom’ oat milk ice cream flavor is a whole new level of deliciousness,” says Josey. “One day I hope to have a bakery, and I would love to learn from Courtney and Zan how to best serve healthy options.” Expect a line.
Brooklyn Sweet Spot
Josey’s own signature dish is cheesecake (he uses his grandmother’s recipe), which makes Kym Rodgers’ shop his “happy place.” “I love the fact that, at Brooklyn Sweet Spot, they offer cheesecake jars.” he adds.
The custom cake shop in Prospect Heights has served the likes of Rihanna, Jay-Z, and Taraji P. Henson, among other notable customers. “As I think about the future, it would be great to have a few celebrity clients,” muses Josey. But that’s not the only reason he visits the bakery. “I love their focus on cake design,” he says. “They offer a ton of signature options. One of my favorites is the art collage cake, which is perfect for designer brand prints and allows you to personalize your cake. I also really like the custom Juneteenth cake!”
Founded by Craig Watson and Eddie Figueroa, the bakery with locations in East Harlem and the East Village sells 100 percent nut-free and kosher treats. Josey’s favorite is the lava cupcake—a chocolate cake garnished and baked with semi-sweet chocolate.