During Spring Baking Championship Season 7, Jahmal Dailey wowed the judges with some impressive flavor combinations. Fans of the Food Network show were equally thrilled with his creative sweet treats and amiable persona. Although one bad day in the Food Network kitchen proved to be his downfall, the reality is that this talented baker has big aspirations on his plate.
Recently, FoodSided spoke with Jahmal Dailey about his Spring Baking Championship experience, his desire to master a special macaron and what baking trends that everyone will need to try.
Like many Spring Baking Championship bakers, Jahmal jumped at the chance to compete on this Food Network show. For him, “The challenge, potential ability to grow and the opportunity to win $25,000 are what drew me to compete on Spring Baking Championship. As many of us have had time to think and introspect over the past year, the idea of turning down opportunities that can lead to something greater or even a major change in life doesn’t sit right with me and I really want to make sure I’m taking advantage of all experiences that come my way.”
While the home baker might have discovered a love of baking in the past year, Jahmal appreciates the creativity involved. Balancing the proper technique and decorating vision seems to appeal to his personality.
Jahmal said, “Being a pastry chef sparks my creative side for the simple fact that I’m able to see my idea come to life on the plate, and I would also say for attention (especially as a child) there’s just something about making a desert and having everyone think it’s delicious! I’m also able to test myself constantly and see how well I can manipulate the same 5 ingredients over and over in order to create something “new”. I always mention this about baking but essentially we have flour, sugar, dairy, salt and fat, and we have to utilize these ingredients over and over to make something new. I honestly think that’s how we’re able to be the most creative is when we’re put inside a box or given confines to work within as opposed to just “do whatever you want” and come up with something. It’s almost like well where do I start?!”
Those insightful words should resonate with home bakers. While many people have stood at a pantry and said, there is nothing to eat might want to re-think that statement. Even though some ingredients are standard, the chef makes them shine. From the perfect crumb in a moist cake to a rich brownie, the delicious bite can be crafted from those classic ingredients.
When Spring Baking Championship premiere, Jahmal mentioned that he was trying to perfect vegan, nut-free macarons. Although many people would be thrilled with this pastry innovation, the task is not a simple one.
Jahmal said, “Vegan/Nut-Free macarons are difficult to master because traditionally macarons contain 3 ingredients (minus the filling) those being egg whites, sugar and almonds. To remove 2/3 and make them indistinguishable from the original is not only a big deal because of the technique involved, but also for the fact that it suddenly makes macarons accessible to 2 more groups of people that wouldn’t normally be able to have them. Based upon the response I’ve gotten so far and the number of people that most recently purchased the collection I made for Valentine’s Day, I would say the interest is most definitely there!”
In some ways, this desire to perfect this macaron could be part of a bigger dessert trend. Similar to the food conversation, plant-based food is always on the plate. It makes sense that these foods would be part of dessert, as well.
Jahmal said,“Hands down 100% the next big dessert/baking trend is plant based alternative baking methods/ingredients. Even within the last year so many advancements have been made to help people rely less on animal-based products not only in baking but the food industry as a whole. People are realizing that just because it’s vegan or gluten-free or even sugar-free doesn’t mean that it has to taste bad or even look bad. As I mentioned with my vegan-nut free macarons making things accessible to people that wouldn’t normally be able to enjoy them has been my goal. If we (as chefs) can utilize ingredients that achieve the same results in baking, only require a small amount change and make even more desserts/pastries accessible why not do so? I’m also big on making sure these alterations taste/look as close to the original as possible.”
As Jahmal expressed, desserts tend to make people happy. Sometimes that little taste of happiness is the brightest part of the day.
When asked if he believes in eating dessert first, Jahmal said, “I believe in enjoying food however you want! I certainly have eaten ice cream or cookies before I had dinner not only a child but even as an adult, and I don’t think that’s rebellious side of me is ever going to change.”
Although the Spring Baking Championship title alluded Jahmal Dailey, the future is bright for this talented pastry chef. And, if you are craving a nut-free macaron, he has a treat for you.
New Spring Baking Championship episodes air on Monday nights on Food Network.
Jahmal Dailey is the owner of The Daily Pastry that specializes in “small batch vegan, nut-free, and gluten-free macarons.”