The Baker’s Son tells the story of the rise of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill. In this memoir, Lowell Hawthorne recounts how an idea inspired by his father’s bakery in Border, Jamaica, grew into 120-branches of a very successful business.
Lowell Hawthorne, 52, has been immersed in the Caribbean culinary world for his entire life. “I have lived it, I have breathed it, and it was a part of my upbringing,” he says. In his memoir, “The Baker’s Son,” out Tuesday, Hawthorne shares how an idea inspired by his father’s bakery in Border, Jamaica, grew into the Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill.
Golden Krust was technically born of necessity. In 1981, Hawthorne followed several relatives to the United States in search of opportunity. While working for the New York Police Department, he realized he needed more income to support his family. Hawthorne told his relatives he wanted to return to the family bakery business, and they jumped on board. “They bought into my vision,” he says. “They bought into the idea, and they bought into the concept of starting the business.”
[. . .] In 1989, Hawthorne opened the Golden Krust flagship at 1381 E. Gun Hill Road in the Bronx. Despite this success, the family’s business struggles were far from over. Extortionist garbage collectors demanded more money than they were owed. A competitor providing Golden Krust with Jamaican patties cut off their supply. The Golden Krust team had to import equipment from Jamaica and comply with city building and health codes.
[. . .] Golden Krust’s locations now span nine states and supply school and penal systems in New York City. They’re promoting their products to grocery stores and big-box retailers in the hope of bringing the Golden Krust name mainstream by 2020.
After 23 years of selling patties, pastries, sandwiches and more through Golden Krust, Hawthorne hasn’t lost sight of his values. Through college scholarships supported by the company’s Pennies for Change program, he gives back to the community. His family prays together to stay united as a unit.
Hawthorne says he is grateful for the opportunity to build Golden Krust from the ground up. “It’s a very humbling experience,” he says, “to know that the concept that began in Jamaica with our parents was able to come here.”