My name is Jimmy Dickson, Chef/Owner of Breadbastard.
After many years of cooking on a professional level, I had a sudden urge to start making desserts. My favorite being New York style cheesecake. As a child, my parents would have cheesecake delivered on the holidays. I think the milk man supplied them…. I believe that they were “Lindy’s”. Anyhow, as my beloved sibs were raiding the fridge for the turkey, there I was gobbling down cheesecake and swigging eggnog . I started to crave them after many, many years and decided to try to replicate that taste from long ago.
After much trial and error…Voila! I finally made a cheesecake that I love, well that was 16 years ago…..I would bring slices into work, and the bars I frequented afterwards. Friends would inquire about where these “Off-the-hook” gems came from. When the response was “I made it”, much skepticism was rampant. “No way, you bought this somewhere!”. Ah….a challenge… a DARE! That’s the kick in the ass I needed!!!! I realized that these babies are better than I thought.
So I bought containers, started marketing them on a small scale and documenting all phases of the process for the skeptics! It just slowly grew and grew busier. I added flavors as customers requested. There are over forty varieties that I do currently and am adding as these are requested. I’ve grown to the point of full capacity, working from my home kitchen and working around a full time job as a Kitchen Designer. I would love to have my own bakery. Perhaps when I retire, so that I can continue to grow and expand.
I didn’t always see myself in the kitchen, however. I do not come from a family of chefs by any means. Mum would joke about how she burnt everything. Dad cooked mostly when we were kids as both my parents had to work. He did well enough that we didn’t go hungry. My brother couldn’t make ice and my older sister had a passion for baking, but not the patience. She passed away when we were both 25 years old. Irish twins 11 months apart, so she didn’t live long enough to hone that skill. Sadly, they are all in Heaven.
I guess that I share my sister, Rachelle’s, passion for baking, and that I was able to hone those skills. I am very excited about this, my first magazine interview with a cutting-edge publication such as Culination Magazine! I look forward to many more in the future, thank you so much!
I believe what sets me apart from the competition is the fact that I make everything from scratch- the fruit compotes, ganache, caramel, pastry cream, citrus curds, the crusts and so forth, so that I am able to control every layer of flavor. I even make my own cannoli shells from scratch, just to grind them up for my Holy Cannoli cheesecake crusts. A lot of competitors cut corners to speed up production and reduce cost (cost reduction is a large part of business). It’s more important to me that the product and ingredients are the highest possible quality!
The fact that Mom was still alive to see my success is what makes me proudest. I do however pride myself on the taste and presentation of my product as a close second! Few people can really understand the passion that goes into my products.
My fondest memory in the kitchen actually was not in the kitchen at all but rather at a local bar with friends who had ordered a cheesecake several weeks prior for a physically challenged relative’s birthday. They had the pictures of the event on their phone and the image of that young man with Downs Syndrome blowing out the candles on that Mango Cheesecake from Breadbastard is permanently etched on my mind. It brought a tear to my eyes. Without a doubt the fondest moment of my career!
A final meal…hmmm… If I knew that I was to die in my sleep tonight, I would have meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Lots of it! I would go fat and comfortable! Hahahaha! With, of course, a slice of cheesecake for dessert!!!
Story and photo collaboration by BREADBASTARD and Chef Leighton Knowles