Job Title: Founder/cocoanista, Jacek Chocolate Couture
Why She’s Top 40: She’s spearheading charity campaigns to help children in need.
Guilty Pleasure: “Chips, I love salt, I love crunch, I’m such a chipaholic.”
The success story of chocolate entrepreneur Jacqueline Jacek is sweet beyond words. After all, it’s not every day that a former marketing professional abandons her cushy job to create delicacies she seasonally introduces in much the same way the fashion industry ramps up its lines.
As part of her work with Jacek, Jacqueline (often working closely with Tourism Edmonton) is asked to do mini-chocolate tastings for delegates that come into the city, showcasing a gastronomic side of Edmonton. But, one such contract inspired her to give back. When asked to design a line of chocolates for a gala at the Enjoy Centre in 2013, she discovered the event was a benefit to support an orphanage in Bulembu, Swaziland.
“I learned more about the project and cause and fell in love with it,” says Jacek, who subsequently started her own campaign that raised $9,500 to refurbish a house for six children. She later amped up the effort, and raised $7,000 to create a community garden and an additional $7,000 to subsidize the shipment of donated goods to the village. “That’s when my personal contributions started to happen,” says Jacek,
These days, Jacek – who started her business in her Sherwood Park kitchen in 2009 and now operates two stores in the Capital Region – gets about 10 charity requests a week and prefers to support campaigns that assist children in need, such as Ronald McDonald House. She also sees the charitable element as part of her pursuit of joy and contributing to the changing culinary dynamics in Edmonton. With a new store opening in Canmore this month, Jacek’s imprint on the province, and the world, is likely to grow.
“I wanted to build something that would last and see what I’ve built is contributing to the community. I feel that fine food is critical to a vibrant city.”