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Student juggles school and baking

ULV student Jennifer Mikolasko, owner of JDM Bakeshop, displays some of her most popular pastries. After becoming a chef in Santa Monica, working for Susie Cakes in Brentwood and helping open a new Susie Cakes in Newport Beach, Mikolasko decided she wanted to work close to home and created JDM Bakeshop. She rents space in an existing bakeshop in Pasadena to fulfill her orders for clients. JDM Bakeshop can be found weekly at local farmers markets in Claremont and Rancho Cucamonga where her family helps sell pastries. / photo by Cameron Barr

Alyssa Cole
Staff Writer

Red velvet cupcakes, pecan bars, strawberry crumbles and all-American baked goods are a few things junior education major Jennifer Mikolasko bakes professionally in and outside her own kitchen.

“They’re all family recipes passed on from my mother and grandmother,” Mikolasko said.

Mikolasko owns her own in-home bakeshop, JDM, specializing in all natural and customized pastries, while being a full-time student.

“Her stuff is incredible and perfect,” JDM client Corrine Scott said. “She bakes everything from scratch and the presentation is so beautiful to the eye.”

Mikolasko has been baking for eight years total at various kitchens located in Newport Beach, Brentwood, and Santa Monica, and has worked three years under her own brand JDM.

“At first it was hard to find balance,” Mikolasko said about finding the time between school and work.

Some may be unaware that professional baking can easily take up a full day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with everything from prepping, cooling and the trial and error.

Usually summer is a time when most students take a break from the hectic school year, but that is not the case for Mikolasko.

“Summer is when I’m the busiest,” she said.

Mikolasko serves a wide group of events including weddings, baby showers, brunches, lunches and local street markets.

“She’s got a great personality and her work is exceptional,” JDM client Archie Yew said.

Yew has used her services for his nephew’s birthday party and as business goodie baskets that he mails to his clients.

“I send samples of her lemon bars and pecan bars instead of flowers,” Yew said.

When she first started doing street markets she stared with smaller increments, but quickly had to supply more pastries because she was selling out of her specialty cupcakes, bars and cookies.

“I sell 800 baked goods on average a week between street market locations,” Mikolasko said.

You can find Mikolasko at the Claremont Farmer’s Market on Wednesday and Victoria Gardens on Fridays.

One of her creative assets is her ability to customize baked goods for different types of occasions.

For example if anyone wants their Greek letters, company logo or even wedding save the dates incorporated into a cute tasty treat she can make it happen.

“I have to pick and choose now, the orders need to be big for me to do them.”

Mikolasko credits that it is her family and friends that have helped her bakeshop grow into what it is today.

“Most of my business comes from word of mouth,” Mikolasko said.

Although she hopes to open up her own bakery, she really aspires to be a teacher and baking is something she does on the side.

Mikolasko looks forward to promoting creativity and healthy eating to the kids she teaches.

“You can take a simple math problem and incorporate food and make it fun.”

With the fall and winter holidays quickly approaching Mikolasko will have to juggle her business and preparing for finals.

“I’ve learned time management, how to work with my hands, how to save and the value of money.”

If you want to incorporate customized baked goods into your holiday party, Check out JDM.

For more information, visit www.jdmbakeshop.com.

Alyssa Cole can be reached at alyssa.cole@laverne.edu.

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