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Leicester native featured on Food Network cooking show

LEICESTER — When Adam Young worked in the dishroom at the Brandon Inn, he may not have imagined he would become an acclaimed pastry chef. But if you ask Brandon Inn co-owner and chef Louis Pattis, Young was something special from the start.
“That kid is the hardest worker you could ever find,” Pattis said. “Work for him was just something he had to do, no complaints.”
So it comes as no surprise to Pattis and his wife, Sarah, that Young is starring in season three of the Food Network’s “Spring Baking Championship.” The eight-week baking competition premiered Sunday, March 12, with Young as one of nine professional bakers competing for a $50,000 grand prize. Each week, the judges will vote off one contestant as they are judged on how well they perform complex baking assignments.
Adam, 32, is the youngest son of Anne and Ken Young, who own and operate Foxcroft Farm in Leicester. He graduated from Otter Valley Union High School in 2002.
And he wasn’t always a dishwasher at the inn. Louis Pattis gradually introduced Young to other areas of the business like food preparation, cooking and, yes, pastry. Pattis himself is a fine chef and bakes all of the wedding cakes at the inn. For all intents and purposes, the seed was planted and as high school graduation approached. Young applied and was accepted to the prestigious New England Culinary Institute.
His goal was always to be a savory chef who creates the main courses. It wasn’t until he apprenticed under Pastry Chef Joy Jessup in New Orleans that Young found his calling on the pastry side of the kitchen.
“I fought it at first,” he says on his website. “My ignorance led me to believe that desserts were just an afterthought. But I learned that the success of a pastry is determined by a strict set of variables. Controlling those variables and working as precisely and consistently as possible is paramount.”
Young went on to become head pastry chef at Quail Valley Golf and River Club in Vero Beach, Fla., under Chef Jose Faria, and then was named the executive pastry chef at the acclaimed Ocean House in Watch Hill, R.I.
And then two years ago Young realized his dream of owning his own pastry business, and along with his wife, Ebbie, opened Sift Bake Shop in Mystic, Conn.
About that time is when the Food Network started courting Young, his mom says.
“It was always bad timing,” Anne Young said. “First, they were starting the business, then they were having a baby.”
The couple welcomed their daughter, Stella, last year. She will turn one year old on March 23.
That work ethic Adam Young brought from the farm to the Brandon Inn is behind his success, Pattis said.
“It’s a great story,” he said. “It’s a great thing to see somebody make it with their own two hands. We were lucky to take him in and be part of his making because he needed a challenge and he went with it. He knew what he wanted. It was never a question.”
Anne Young said Sift is “very, very successful” with 35 employees and a 24-hour baking schedule.
“They knew when they got into it that it would be all-consuming,” she said. “Adam’s dedicated for sure. We’re very proud.”
The Pattises are proud as well, and Louis Pattis said now his young charge has to learn how to balance his family and his work.
“It was just a matter of time before he had his own business,” Pattis said. “The toughest thing for Adam will be stepping back and letting it happen.”
And it’s quite possible that Adam Young has already won the Spring Baking Championship, as all eight episodes were taped last summer in Hollywood, Calif., his mom said. And everyone involved is sworn to secrecy.
“We’ve had to keep everything hush until this week,” Anne Young said. “Even I don’t know what the outcome was. I don’t really want to know because I couldn’t keep it to myself.”
Season three of the Food Network’s “The Spring Baking Championship” premiered on March 12. Look for the next episode this Saturday, March 25, 1 p.m., and Sunday, March 26, 6 p.m. on the Food Network, or online at www.foodnetwork.com/shows/spring-baking-championship.

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