Jasmine Smith, founder of Dainty Delights By Ivana (Amanda Scurlock/ L.A. Sentinel)
Jasmine Smith, founder of Dainty Delights By Ivana (Amanda Scurlock/ L.A. Sentinel)

L.A. native Jasmine Smith studied public health during her undergraduate years at UC Berkeley and received her Master’s in Public health at UCLA. Now, she has plans to give up her full-time job to become an entrepreneur.

Smith has made her passion into her profession by starting her catering business named Dainty Delights by Ivana. Her brand has a mission to not only provide enjoyable meals, but a positive hospitality and customer service experience.

The mission statement of Dainty Delights is “to spread love through culinary experiences.” Smith was fascinated with small, sweet treats and wanted to infuse her middle name into her brand.

Catering had been a passion of Smith since she was a child. Using crayons to take down orders, Smiths mother and family members were her first customers.

While attending both colleges, Smith found ways to peruse her passion in event planning, however she felt that she would not pursue that as a career. At UC Berkeley, Smith had leadership roles in the black recruitment and retention center, a student organization that provided events and resources to African American students.

“That position is good because it’s like you have guidance but you have so much autonomy,” Smith said. “It was something that really challenged me to grow and learn.”

During her time at UCLA, Smith was the event planner for the Graduate Student Association. She loved creating events for the students to attend while having thoughts of creating events on her own.

Dainty Delights was established in 2014, providing a myriad of entrees, baked goods, and appetizers.  The menu includes mason jar desserts, bacon wrapped potato wedges, Hennessey cupcakes, breakfast sliders, and cake pops. Customers can request for low calorie and gluten free meal options. Items from her menu come from requests by customers.

“The Hennessey cupcakes were sparked by an original customer demand,” Smith said. “That was born of a costumer’s request, hadn’t been anything I was necessarily thinking about, but something that was brought to me.”

Smith recently launched her company website which provides customers with menus and ways to order.  Smith aims to cater a myriad of events from baby showers to art showcases to champagne parties. One of her clients is Bobby Original, an L.A.-based hip-hop artist who hosts a monthly talent showcase.

Smith mentioned her love for networking and collaborating with a hope that her culinary treats could make their event more enjoyable.

Hospitality and event planning gives Smith a sense of purpose, the positive feedback she gets from clients is a source of motivation. A defining moment for Smith was when she supplied catering for a Women’s Prayer Breakfast at her church, feeding 50 people. She cooked breakfast sliders, mini cinnamon buns, blueberry and banana nut muffins, and fruit and yogurt parfaits.

“That was probably one of the biggest projects that I did single handedly,” Smith said.

Smith, an alumna of St. Bernard High School, said the staff and faculty empowered her as a student. Leadership opportunities would help her take risks and be confident. The religion classes would give Smith a religious foundation.

“I spent a lot of time in student government, I was the ASB president my senior year and I feel like I had a lot of mentors,” Smith said. “I can really thank St. Bernard for giving me a lot of leadership opportunities.”