Trendsetter to Know: Chef Dana Dumas

Name: Dana N. Dumas

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Age: 45

Title: CEO and Founder of SugarJam Cookies, LLC & SugarJam Bakeshop & Bistro

Married/Single: Married

Kids: Twin Boys 10 years Old (Brody & Brayden)

City you live in: North Phoenix

A typical day in my life includes…
A usual day is getting up at 6AM and having a time of silence before I get dressed. Then a cup of tea and stretching, off to get dressed and then get the kids up and family fed. Then I am off to do errands and go over to the restaurant to meet with my Chef and team. I then prep and bake and manage operational needs at the store. I try to hit the gym on my way home and get dinner ready and have family time. Usually my night concludes around 10:30 – 11:00 PM. 

I was born…
Manhattan, New York Child of the Great ’70s; raised in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, NY. And moved to West Milford, NJ where I attended High School. Then attended college in New York City. Later after being married for two years moved to Scottsdale, AZ, and worked in Corporate until 2011 when I launched SugarJam Cookies.

My favorite thing about Arizona…
I love the Arizona weather from October – early June (ha! ha!), but I love the opportunities that Arizona has afforded me (whether I was working in Corporate as a Director of Business Development or being the CEO of SugarJam). I love the diverse amount of people I have been able to connect with over the years. I love all the artisans that I have had the pleasure of meeting and networking with through the crafter markets and other fairs, these people are the salt of the earth! They are encouraging, they have great stories and its nice to be associated with people who provide inspiration to others.  

I’m listening to…
Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Maxwell, The Roots, Jay-Z, Earth, Wind & Fire and Sade

My family…
My husband Brian and I have 10-year-old fraternal twin boys (Brody and Brayden). We like to go on hikes and bicycle rides. Me and the boys love superhero’s and love spending time watching Superhero movies. From time to time the boys come to the restaurant to help serve, they like making tips so they can buy V-Bucks for Fortnight (Ugggh!). During Thanksgiving my husband and the boys come in to help the team make pies. And you can find my Dad from time to time in the SugarJam kitchen making the beans or potato salad. We are a very close-knit family.

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be…
B. Smith (Barbara Elaine Smith, AKA B. Smith was an African American restaurateur, model, author, businesswoman and television host. I would love to speak with her to get further insight on how she navigated through the many spectrums of her business life and growing the empire she did. Its inspiring for me as woman of color to have such an example of greatness and achievement for which I am working on as well.

One thing I cannot live without…
My Family

When I was younger, I wanted to be…
Model, Make-Up Artist and Hairstylist

I’m inspired by…
Being an entrepreneur! Having the ability to be creative and innovative, building a business, giving people the autonomy to be creative and bring their ideas and talents to the table.

The one person who motivates me is…
My Grandma Thelma Thompson, she had a passion for making people happy through her delicious food. My grandmother was a very hard worker and always so giving.

If I could change anything in the world, it would be…
That we are all seen! That we can get to a level playing field so that there will be inclusion and equality for all. I want a world that we can banish hate, racism, and violence! I want all people to be willing to educate themselves on cultures that are not their own. All people need to unite and rejoice in new friendships and start to build a new history that our children can be safe and proud of knowing that we and our ancestors fought for!

The perfect day would be…
Sharing a spa day to relax with my husband Brian.

My first job was: Babysitter

My favorite escape…
A nice glass of cold Moscato and reading an interior decorating or crafting magazine.

My life…
My life is always evolving! I never stop learning and enjoy watching my boys grow up and are so happy they are so close to all their grandparents. I am an innovator and am always planning for what could come next. Most of all my life is full of love and support! My biggest cheerleaders are my husband Brian, parents, in-laws, Aunt and close friends.

I’m currently working on…
The next evolution of SugarJam and the Southern Comfort Kitchen… stay tuned!

Always…
Listen, Be Present, Be Kind, Have Love in Your Heart, Be Patient

Never…Give Up!

Favorite Quote…
“Strength does not come from whining; your struggles develop your strength. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength”.  Gandhi

Biggest Dream…
To have the SugarJam Emporium which will include, home décor and gifts from local artisans (including my own lines), clothing, bakery, wine, and food all in one place, with a DJ.

My Pet Peeve(s)…
Being disorganize and sloppy

More about Dana Dumas and SugarJam Cookies
SugarJam Cookies, LLC was founded in December 2011 by me (Dana N. Dumas); I started at the Phoenix Public Market – Farmer’s Market. I was among the first wave of at-home bakers on the implemented AZ Cottage Law. I started at the market with my signature sugar jam cookie sandwiches. Within my first year at the market, I expanded into several markets around the valley and started to offer more in my baking lineup. Fast forward to September 2014, the doors opened at The SugarJam Bake Shop & Bistro in the North Scottsdale Airpark. Then in November 2014, I launched the SugarJam Bakery Trailer. You could still find me on the streets doing Phoenix First Friday’s, Scottsdale Artisan Waterfront (Sunday’s), 7th Avenue Melrose Fair, Fountain Hills Festival of the Arts; Street Eats, The Big Heap, Schnepf Farm’s Peach Fest, Food Truck stops, Corporate/Private affairs and so much more.

In addition, to running the shop I started to do catering and after a few years, my concentration shifted more towards the restaurant and evolving the menu from light bistro and bakery to the Southern Comfort Concept I have today. Currently, at SugarJam we specialize in our Southern Comfort Cuisine which includes our Fried Chicken; Shrimp Po’boys; Baked Mac N Cheese; Collard Greens; Candied Yams; Creole Shrimp and Grits; Salmon Croquettes; Fried Catfish; Buttermilk Biscuits and Brisket with our Signature Sausage Gravy; Parisian Style French Toast; Southern Grits and more. Our weekend brunch is Amazing, and our Friday Night Soul Dinner is so good, I generally offer a chef special every weekend (my customers Love my specials – I try to keep up, but they sell out so fast!). I have been named one of the “Top Pie Baker’s in the Valley” (Phoenix New Times); because I believe in the authenticity of a real pie and it should make you feel like “home” – I and my staff make every pie from scratch. We always try to keep up with the day, but we do sell out! On average Saturday we sell about 60 personal pies and at least 20 – 25 large pies. For Thanksgiving, I bring in a crew and we work around the clock.



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