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

The public is being asked to use caution when doing backyard burning in the Cariboo Fire Centre. (File photo)
Caution urged with outdoor burning says Cariboo Fire Centre

Anyone conducting burning must ensure adequate resources are on hand to stop fire from spreading

Four defibrillators will be installed around Quesnel at the Bouchie Lake, Barlow Creek and Parkland community halls and at Alex Fraser Park. (Black Press file photo)
North Cariboo Joint Committee approve defibrillators, cycling trail maintenance

The committee held a brief meeting, approving projects in the Quesnel area

There have been four COVID-19 exposures in Quesnel School District facilities. (File Photo)
Northern health detects COVID-19 case at Kersley Elementary

It’s the fourth case detected in the Quesnel School district this school year

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among other ventilation measures

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Two men walk past a sign on Main Street in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calls for government transparency in COVID data continue as B.C.’s 3rd wave wears on

Social media, where both information and misinformation can spread like wildfire, has not helped

The music video for “Green and Blue” featured a Willington Care Centre in Burnaby as well as some of the volunteers and employees. (Screenshot/Todd Richard)
‘Green and Blue’: B.C. country musician releases tribute song for front-line workers

Richard’s new single has been viewed more than 3,000 times on his YouTube channel

An unidentified B.C. man said, in a human rights complaint, that he was refused a contract job after refusing to wear a mask when asked to by an on-site manager. (Unsplash)
Religious B.C. man lodges human rights complaint after fired for refusing to wear a mask

Worker’s claim that ‘to cover up our face infringes on our God-given ability to breathe’ dismissed by B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

This 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 was stolen from Black Creek Motors at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, April 11. Photos via blackcreekmotors.com
VIDEO: B.C. car dealer posts clip of thieves towing a truck right off his lot

Video shows one white truck towing another off Vancouver Island lot

FILE – People hold signs during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver on Saturday, August 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to request federal exemption for simple drug possession

Announcement comes on 5-year anniversary of B.C.’s first public health emergency

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Most Read