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Sweet taste of success

By Jessie Moniz Hardy

Jun 3, 2019

People often highlight Jeremiah Josey as someone who has overcome the odds. He has autism but, at 20, he is a published author and has made a name for himself in the culinary world, where he often runs with celebrity chefs such as Marcus Samuelsson. As one might expect of a millennial, he also has a YouTube channel, Jeremiah’s Cooking Adventures.

Last year he appeared three times on Steve Harvey’s daytime talk show, Steve.

“Steve Harvey was awesome. He was nice, just like he seems on television,” said Mr Josey, who appeared with Christina Tosi, founder of the famed chain of dessert and bakery restaurants Milk Bar, on one of the episodes.

Seven million people watched that particular show, including Anthony Peets, president of the Bermuda Autism Support and Education charity.

He was particularly interested because his son, Ahmani, who also has autism and loves to cook, recently started selling baked goods under the name Ahmani’s Cookies.

“What caught my attention was how Jeremiah interacted with Steve Harvey; the cadence of voice and how he articulated his answers,” Mr Peets said.

“Having a teen son just three years younger you look and see possibilities. So I looked at his dexterity and social skills. I could clearly relate as l saw and watched him.”

Impressed, he got in touch with Mr Josey’s mother, Simone Greggs, ultimately inviting the pair to Bermuda.

Mr Josey will this week speak at schools and cook with Antonio Belvedere, of The Terrace, Michiko Campbell, of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, and Fred Ming, author and Bermuda College culinary arts professor.

The highlight of his visit, however, promises to be on Saturday when he will bake alongside Ahmani at a Paget church.

“I got my first passport two weeks ago,” he said proudly. “I’m excited to explore Bermuda and see what is there.”

His mother’s hope is that one day they are able “to dispel the negative stereotypes associated with autism”.

In grade 2, Mr Josey was labelled as “disruptive” and was given a misdiagnosis of attention deficit disorder.

Ritalin was recommended but something did not feel right to his mother.

After other health problems were ruled out, the Maryland resident was sent to Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, where his autism was discovered.

Ms Greggs eventually enrolled him in a private school where he was given extra time on tests and other accommodations to aid his study.

He got interested in cooking when he was “quite little”, introduced by his grandmother, Doris Greggs-McQuilkin.

“I love my grandmother’s hospitality,” Mr Josey said. “Me and her would make a lot of pastries together when I