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.
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.
October 7, 2020
What is your full name? Ruby Denise Pahtayken, kîhew Iskwēw- ᑭᐦᐁᐤ ᐃᐢᑫᐧᐤ. What program are you enrolled in at Okanagan College? Culinary Arts, currently in Professional Cook Level 2 for 2020. Where is your hometown? Onion Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan. Wîhcêkaskosîwî - Sâkahikanihk What brought you to OC? Why did you come to Kelowna to study? In pursuing my culinary career, I moved to Kelowna. I love that I come from the beautiful Cree plains and moved to a different territory. I w...Read more...
September 3, 2020
For students navigating stepping into a new semester amid a time of uncertainty and anxiety around COVID, Okanagan College’s Counselling Services team is creating a new opportunity to connect and build resilience. GROW @ OC is the College’s newest counselling initiative, an online drop-in group to learn practical tools and strategies to become a more proactive student. Designed directly for OC students by OC counsellors, the six workshops offered throughout the fall semester focus on setting students up for success amid a semester during w...Read more...
September 2, 2020
Okanagan College will welcome back students with a range of virtual and in-person physically-distanced, curbside Orientation Day activities next week – all geared toward making them feel connected and starting their post-secondary experience off on a positive note. “Okanagan College is about people – our students, and employees coming together in a truly supportive community,” said Meri Kim Oliver, OC’s Vice President Students. “As much as COVID-19 has changed how we connect, all OC campuses are committed developing the best student experie...Read more...
August 31, 2020
Okanagan College is waiving parking fees for students this coming semester. “Many of our students will be learning online or via remote delivery this fall, and we expect that those who are on campus for experiential learning in labs or shops may be spending less time on campus than normal,” explains Curtis Morcom, OC’s Vice President Employee and Corporate Services. “In light of that, we wanted to take this step to pass on some savings to students, which we hope will be a welcome relief.” Students can park for free and do not have to displa...Read more...