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Sweet victory for OC alumna at Vancouver Chocolate Challenge
Okanagan College Media Release

The seven judges at the seventh annual Chocolate Challenge in Vancouver, sponsored by the Gourmet Warehouse, know what a winner tastes like: beer-infused ganache bonbons.

Okanagan College Pastry Arts alumna Jalayne Jones whisked her way to the highest honours earlier last month at the competition, where some of Western Canada’s top pastry chefs and chocolatiers came together to compete for a good cause.Jalayne Jones and Danny Capadouca June 2019

The style of the competition is simple – seven chocolate experts, who serve as event judges, elect a protégé and then provide mentorship leading up to the event. The competitors craft chocolates and bring them in an unmarked box that is presented to the panel of judges.

Jones, a pastry chef at Hillside Winery Bistro in Penticton, merited the invitation to compete from OC Pastry Arts instructor and event judge, Okanagan College chef instructor Danny Capadouca.

“The competition was exciting, stressful and nerve wracking all at once. Many hours of work went into dialing in the final chocolate then once it was perfected, a few days of early mornings and late nights were spent making all of the chocolates in preparation for competition day,” says Jones.
“I couldn’t have been happier with the results.”

Jones stepped up to the challenge with an original recipe inspired by locally grown – and brewed – ingredients. Her recipe achieved the perfect blend of savoury and sweet and crunchy and smooth, earning her a unanimous victory over competitors representing Chez Christophe, Thierry, Thomas Haas, Temper Pastry, Chocolate Arts, and the Fairmont Pacific Rim.

The bonbon – dubbed Beer and Pretzels – used Royal Decree English ale from one of Kelowna’s newest breweries, Vice and Virtue Brewing Co., and used locally-crafted chocolate from none other than Okanagan College.

The College is the first post-secondary institution outside of Europe to create its own chocolate recipes. Jones used OC’s milk chocolate recipe, Kalamalka Karamel, to create the smooth beer caramel with almond pretzel praline.

“Working with Jalayne was a treat in this competition and her directive on this chocolate was well-received by some of the biggest names in the industry,” says Capadouca, a former competitor turned judge. “It’s amazing because we all give the competitor free creative reign because it is their chocolate. It’s some of the highest quality chocolates you’ll see.”

Capadouca served as a judge for the competition for a second year in a row and invites an OC Pastry Arts graduate to compete every time, after previously participating himself. Jones win marks the third appearance for the College in the event.

“The competition is by invite-only and I always bring a Pastry Arts alumnus with me to compete,” he explains. “Jalayne’s put in a lot of volunteer time for the College since she graduated. She’s really shown an interest and growth in her own chocolate making.”

The Chocolate Challenge began in 2012 as a fundraiser for at-risk youth. Proceeds from the event benefit Vancouver Firefighters Charities Snacks for Kids, Project Chef and the Strathcona Backpack Program, which are local programs in Vancouver that engage kids and food. To date, the event has raised more than $125,000.

Throughout the summer, Jones can be found making chocolate and other pastries at Hillside Winery Bistro on Naramata Road. Its operating hours are 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.