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

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The board is planning a 2021 festival no matter the conditions, they are going to make it work! (BCMF directors Buddy Thatcher (from left), Kristen Boulier, Rose Clark, Jeff Gray, Corissa McNeilly and Jayme Kennedy (front), and her hair. (photo submitted)
Bella Coola Music Festival planning on 2021 fest

The BCMF is planning for a 2021 festival on July 17 and 18, however it may look.

The Lost Lake trail is a popular hike for locals and visitors for it's accessibility (Khya Saban photo)
LETTER: Lost Lake trailhead trees shouldn’t be cut down

The area is slated to be cut by the Bella Coola Community Forest

Easter is on Sunday, April 4, 2021. How much do you know about Easter history and traditions? (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz about Easter and its traditions

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Most Read