Surrey resident Jujhar Mann in an episode of The Food Network’s “Great Chocolate Showdown” TV series. (Photo: foodnetwork.ca)

Surrey resident Jujhar Mann in an episode of The Food Network’s “Great Chocolate Showdown” TV series. (Photo: foodnetwork.ca)

B.C. baker living a childhood dream on TV show involving chocolatey challenges

‘My parents never said no, it just wasn’t the norm for a South Asian boy to bake,’ Jujhar Mann says

The dessert-making skills of a budding Surrey baker are showcased on an elimination-type TV show devoted to chocolate treats.

Newton-area student Jujhar Mann, 21, is among 10 “home bakers” competing for a $50,000 grand prize on The Food Network’s “Great Chocolate Showdown,” billed as “an ooey-gooey, decadent chocolate dessert competition series.”

The second-season show is another step toward a pastry-chef career for Mann, who says he wasn’t encouraged to bake as a child, but always admired the art of baking and cake decorating. He dreamed of becoming a pastry chef and having his own bakeshop one day.

“My parents never said no, it just wasn’t the norm for a South Asian boy to bake,” Mann said Friday (March 19).

“It just wasn’t encouraged, and it was difficult because I kind of felt trapped, not doing what I wanted to do,” he added. “I only really started baking in 2018, three years ago. I’ve always been a creative person, hands-on, working with my hands, but I never baked at home. I’m not like other contestants who say they’ve been baking since age four, or whatever.”

As a creative outlet, Mann started baking after completing a stressful first year of business studies at Simon Fraser University. Last year, when classes went online during the pandemic, he applied to appear on “Great Chocolate Showdown,” was selected, and flew to Toronto to film the eight-episode series, which airs Mondays.

Meantime, he was also handling inquiries for the online bakeshop he’d launched “for fun” as an Instagram page in August 2018.

“It was so much fun being on the show but also intense, because I was a full-time student with four classes and it was all supposed to be a secret, too, me being on the show,” Mann recalled. “I didn’t take any orders during that time, because I just couldn’t.”

(Story continues below)

Launched as Jujhar’s Dessert Bar, Mann’s business is now known as Mann & Co Bakeshop, a portal for custom cakes, dessert bars and more. His plan is to open a storefront location in Newton later this year.

On the TV show, the Kwantlen Park Secondary grad said he’s up against competitors from Texas, Portland, Philadelphia, Toronto and other North America cities, with all desserts judged by Anna Olson, Steve Hodge and Cynthia Stroud.

“I watched the first season (of the show) last year and I contacted the contestants to ask them about it, the experience, and then I applied to be on it,” Mann recalled.

“People talk about how COVID stops them from doing things,” he added, “but for me it was helpful, because I could do online school and the show, and after the filming I attended a pastry school in Las Vegas.… I just returned from there last week. My business degree ends next month, and now I am a pastry chef as well. My dreams are becoming a reality.”

Those dreams now include expanding his business and doing more TV shows – maybe doing his own one day, too.

Online, Mann can be seen in episodes of “Great Chocolate Showdown” posted to foodnetwork.ca.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood, this includes protecting one’s home by moving equipment and other assets from these areas to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-normal spring flood season

High-streamflow advisory issued for the Cariboo Region and areas including Williams Lake, Quesnel and Prince George

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

RCMP cruiser, no date.
One man apprehended after high-risk situation in Ashcroft

Distraught man made threats directed at police, potentially had access to firearms

Janice Maurice, president of the South Cariboo Museum Society, and vice-president Peter Brandle, hope to see the Clinton Museum reopen its doors this spring. (Kelly Sinoski - 100 Mile Free Press).
Clinton Museum anticipated to reopen this year

Society board waiting to hear from province on health orders.

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

Most Read