An Okanagan College alumnus is taking home a sweet prize.
Jalayne Jones, a graduate of Okanagan College’s Pastry Arts program, stirred up a win at the seventh annual Chocolate Challenge in Vancouver, competing with some of Western Canada’s premier chocolatiers.
Jones, now a pastry chef at Hillside Winery Bistro in Penticton, won the competition with her beer-infused ganache bonbons.
“The competition was exciting, stressful and nerve-wracking all at once. Many hours of work went into dialling 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,” said Jones.
“I couldn’t have been happier with the results.”
Beer and Pretzels, the name Jones gave to her bonbons, was inspired by local ingredients and producers. The beer comes from a local brewery, Vice and Virtue Brewing, and the chocolate comes from her alma mater, Okanagan College.
Jones received the invitation to the event from her former chef instructor, Danny Capadouca.
In his second year as a judge, Capadouca was glad to see one of his former students take the competition.
“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,” said Capadouca.
“It’s amazing. We all give the competitor free creative rein, because it is their chocolate. It’s some of the highest-quality chocolates you’ll see.”
Jones’ win is the third appearance for Okanagan College in the Chocolate Challenge since it began in 2012.
Proceeds from the event benefit Vancouver Firefighters Charities Snacks for Kids, Project Chef and the Strathcona Backpack Program, which are Vancouver programs 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 from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.