Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Spring Baking Championship 2022.
Alexis Wells, Dennis Van, and Jaleesa Mason were just some of the talented pastry chefs battling it out on Season 8 of the Spring Baking Championship, which wrapped with an explosive episode on Monday, May 2, 2022.
The popular Food Network reality TV show captures the heated competition between some of the best-trained and most creative bakers and dessert makers. So, who won Season 8 of Spring Baking Championship?
Who won Season 8 of 'Spring Baking Championship'?
Season 8 of Spring Baking Championship wrapped under unexpected circumstances, with Romuald Guiot (aka Romy) hanging up his apron seemingly out of the blue after learning that a surprise challenge would involve sprinkles.
Romy was set to compete against Dennis Van, a decorated pastry chef who recently amused the judges with a cheddar cheese–flavored cheesecake served with a generous portion of poached apples. Soon after the shocking twist, Jaleesa was crowned the winner.
Jaleesa enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in 2011, shortly after ditching her plans to pursue a career in medicine. Her decision paid back generously. She soon landed the opportunity to travel to France for her studies, taking additional classes in sugar work.
Her career started to take off for good after Jaleesa secured a job as a pastry cook at the New Jersey branch of Maison Kayser. She and Mohamad Alkassem opened Mo and Jay Pastry a few years thereafter.
A versatile pastry chef, Jaleesa worked for the likes of Magnolia Bakery, Apple Pie Bakery Cafe, Abigail's Bakeshop, and Carlo's Bakery before she launched her independent venture.
Since she started appearing in the Spring Baking Championship, the goods on display at Mo and Jay Pastry have undergone some significant changes — as she's introduced some sweets first developed for the Spring Baking Championship.
Take, for instance, the black sesame cake, which Jaleesa first debuted on Season 8 of the Spring Baking Championship. The cake, in addition to her infamous sweet corn eclairs, and delectable chocolate fudge stripe cookies have now been added to her store's menu.
The toughest part about winning the 'Spring Baking Championship'? Having to keep it a secret, says Jaleesa.
In an interview with NJ.com, Jaleesa revealed that she was strictly forbidden from leaking the information that she had won. She said she wasn't allowed to tell anyone — not even her husband. "I can’t go buy all the champagne because then he’s gonna know," she said. "I have a terrible poker face, so I hope he hasn’t figured it out yet."
As to her future plans? As Jaleesa told the outlet that she would like to invest the $25,000 cash prize in her business. "Our goal is to get a second location for a commissary so we can have much more space to produce," she said.
Mo and Jay Pastry has already garnered a loyal clientele in Little Falls, N. J. A second location could help Jaleesa and Mohamad further expand their outreach and conquer new markets.