The Sweets 4 Miles Difference.
There is Red Velvet but then comes Monique’s Red Velvet Cupcakes. There is no word to describe the Passion that Chef Monique Johnson has for food and people. Her big heart and gracious smile is reflective of the industry that she so enthusiastically loves.
“Betty Crocker” was a nickname that was given to her through her teenage years – and it followed her into adulthood. A hobby that has blossomed!
After a plethora of requests from her family and friends to bake on a daily basis, a baking career emerged for the Chef in 1995. To sharpen her skills, Monique received an A.A.S. in Culinary Arts and continued her education at Farleigh Dickinson University and received a B.A. in Hospitality and Tourism Management then later a teaching certification.
When completing college the well rounded Chef set her ambitions high by opening her own bakery. Monique’s burning desire was one that was well received in her community and expanded beyond her traditional baking skills. Monique Johnson’s struggles became real into her motherhood years when her son Miles was diagnosed with astrocytoma [brain cancer]. Through her son’s struggle Monique was afforded the opportunity to tell his story on the Queen Latifah show and provide tastings to the Queen while she was visiting the show. The Queen LOVED the sampled cookies and, as a result, offered Monique a job baking desserts for the show’s guests and crew.
In 2006, when Chef Johnson opened her first bakery, “The Sugar Cube.” Her son Miles was her biggest promoter, handing out free samples for two weeks straight.
That same year, Monique was offered a job with the Jersey City Board of Education as a Culinary Arts Teacher. She was able to keep up with the demands of being a mother, wife, and career woman until Mile’s cancer returned. She was forced to close the bakery. Unfortunately, Mile’s battle ended in 2008.
No matter the challenges Monique has faced, she never gave up on her dream. The culinary world has been her stepping stool and she truly,” works while others play!”(The motto for FDU Hospitality Department) Baking is her passion and it deeply infused into her being. Not only does the Chef get to bake but specializes in the teachings of the culinary in her classroom. Monique teaches different topics such as quick breads, stir fry’s, soul food origin, Italian cuisine, and the real life work force.(Restaurants, hotel, country clubs, etc.) Her expectations for her students are always set high and she sends them out into the real world prepared to excel.
Chef Johnson is reliving her dream of owning her own bakery once again with her son, Mile’s spirit guiding her. Her current location is called “Sweets 4 Miles,” named in the memory of her son; this intimate bakery is located at 426 Ocean Avenue in Jersey City, NJ. In the words of Langston Hughes, “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun or fester like a sore and then run? With the grace of God, this dream is not deferred. Monique’s son’s legacy lives on through this bakery.