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

Dr. Christine Perkins is the new superintendent of schools for the Vernon School District, effective Aug. 1. Perkins moves to the North Okanagan from the Kootenay Lake School District in Nelson. (Vernon School District photo)
Vernon School District names new superintendent

Dr. Christine Perkins moves from Kootenay Lake district to take over from the retiring Joe Rogers

Vernon Public Art Gallery executive director Dauna Kennedy and board member Kyle Britton accept a $43,400 grant from the BC Arts Council one-time StrongerBC fund amid the COVID-19 pandemic April 9, 2021. (VPAG)
$43K boost for Vernon gallery

Province backs local art gallery with one-time pandemic grant

A 46-year-old man from Armstrong died in Revelstoke hospital after being injured in the Lumby area. (File photo)
Armstrong snowmobiler dies in Revelstoke hospital

46-year-old man injured in Tsuius Mountain area of Monashees around Lumby area

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Spallumcheen landlord’s home trashed by tenants

Rooms filled with junk, garbage, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read