In July, he launched Jalen's Bakery, an online bakery service to honor his grandmothers, Jene and Robin, with the goal of earning money to buy his mom a home. While Jalen is at school, his assistant and mom, Sharhonda Mahan, takes orders. After school and homework, Jalen is in the kitchen making his favorite peanut butter cookies from scratch. (Jalen says the secret to his cookies' fluffiness is in the mixing.) Then Jalen and his mom deliver the baked goods -- cookies, tarts, and muffins -- to customers in the Fresno and Clovis area.
In hopes of expanding, Jalen went to his first business mixer and met a local photographer and web designer, which led to a new website (http://www.jalensbakery.com) with photos.
With the holidays coming up, Jalen is busy working on new items -- powdered sugar cookies, brownies, and cookies shaped like pumpkins, turkeys, and Christmas trees.
Do you consider yourself a novice or expert baker? I think I'm in the middle. I'm learning more from my mom.
Who is your favorite celebrity chef? I like the chef [Emeril Lagasse] that says "bam" and Rachael Ray.
What is your favorite subject in school? I like science. Science is like baking.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in? I like football, soccer, basketball, and karate. I also like going to the afterschool program.
Who inspires you? My mom.