Meet Jasmine Baker, culinary enthusiast + hospitality pro

Posted by Jen McNeely, September 23, 2016

Jasmine Baker, For the Love of Food

Before she was responsible for the food and beverage of 40,000 people at festivals like Field Trip, Boots & Hearts and WayHome Music & Arts, Jasmine Baker was the "Dining Room Helper/Special Events/Retail Sales" person at The Drake Hotel. "I had this super bizzaro title," laughs Jasmine. "In those early days, we all just did what we needed to do."

In late 2003, Jasmine had been hearing murmurings of something cool growing on West Queen West; her curiosity was sparked. "I was managing a place called Lobby and had been hearing about The Drake for quite some time." Once she discovered that 3rd Uncle was behind the design, her fascination intensified. "I basically stalked them," she chuckles, recalling how she first met owner Jeff Stober and then Manager of Operations, Bill Simpson. Her persistence worked, and she was brought on as one of the original team members before The Drake officially opened in February 2004.

Jasmine Baker, For the Love of Food

For the Love of Food at WayHome Music & Arts, 2016

Soon after the doors opened, Jasmine's role expanded far beyond Dining Room Helper. "Within six months, we had quickly built up this Special Events business, so we developed a special events team, and over a couple of years, we added two more people. By the time I left, I was the Director of Sales + Marketing and was overseeing a special events team as well as the creative teams."

She reminisces about her time with us fondly: "We did everything with heart. Everything was about providing world-class genuine hospitality." With so much diversified experience, Jasmine grew the confidence to start her own hospitality business...but what exactly was that?

It was at this juncture when Jeffrey Remedios, co-founder of Arts & Crafts, agreed to start mentoring her. "Really it was just long chats over green tea and talking through all the things that inspired me. I think when you land on the thing that you love, you're almost asking permission: can I really start an events company that focuses on food, beverage and hospitality? Do I know enough to specialize in that?" Jeffrey helped Jasmine form For The Love Of Food, and shortly thereafter he launched Field Trip.

Jasmine Baker, For the Love of Food

For the Love of Food at Field Trip, 2016

The success of their work together at Field Trip sparked the revelation that music festivals and food culture were surging in popularity. "We've been lucky to grow this business at a time when food is getting its own stage at music festivals," says Jasmine. "One of my clients says that food is the next rock ‘n’ roll. I think there's something to that."

Beyond providing great food and beverage options to festival-goers, Jeffrey and Jasmine were very inspired by what Chef Chuck Hughes was doing at Osheaga. "There are so many music festivals in North America that we wanted to help our clients create backstage experiences that would be bragged about by the artists," she says, describing the precipice of when For The Love Of Food truly honed their niche offering. "When artists are choosing which music festival they want to play at that weekend, we hoped that the experience we gave provided our clients a leg up." Oh, it has.

From Field Trip and Gentlemen of the Road came Digital Dreams and then Boots & Hearts. Soon, Jasmine became the go-to in this province in how to make a festival truly standout. "The owners of Boots & Hearts decided to buy Burl's Creek campgrounds and design it specifically for music festivals, and they hired us on to help them. We helped them develop a farmers’ market, renovated an early 1900s barn to be the heart of the VIP, and then got to develop WayHome with them."

Mentorship, timing, and talent have helped, but Jasmine's success is perhaps mostly due to how beautifully she's able to grow strong relationships. "It's celebrating your village and appreciating your village. To me, that is the foundation of any great business, of any great professional."

Jasmine Baker, For the Love of Food

For the Love of Food at WayHome Music & Arts, 2016

While she's always had strong ambition and a charming, infectious spirit, she owes a lot to her eight years at The Drake: "Bill and Jeff believed in me a whole lot and they gave me a ton of autonomy to almost run my own business within their business. Jeff taught me not to settle. I'll never forget that. I think when you have a genuine reason for doing anything, it is a quality in your brand that people can really sink their teeth into, because you're not doing anything superficially – you're doing it for the heart of it. Being a member of Drake Alumnae is a badge I wear with honour."

We feel honoured that you are so integral to our story.

Jasmine Baker, For the Love of Food

Chef Ted Corrado at Taste of Toronto, 2016

Posted in: People

Tags: For the love of Food  Jasmine Baker  People