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Leicester native named "Best Baker in America"

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Posted on June 25, 2018 |
By Lee J. Kahrs



Leicester man best baker in America Adam Young.jpg
PASTRY CHEF AND Leicester native Adam Young last week won the title “Best Baker in America” in a television series on the Food Network.

MYSTIC, Conn./LEICESTER, Vt. — The second time was a charm for Leicester native Adam Young, who on June 18 won the title of “Best Baker in America” on the Food Network show of the same name.

Young competed on the show for seven weeks before being crowned Best Baker in America during the finale that aired this past Monday night.

Not bad for a kid from Leicester who got his start washing dishes at the Brandon Inn.

This is Young’s second reality baking show. He starred in season three of the Food Network’s “Spring Baking Championship” last year. The eight-week baking competition premiered in March 2017 with Young as one of nine professional bakers competing for a $50,000 grand prize. Each week, the judges voted off one contestant as they are judged on how well they perform complex baking assignments.

Young made it all the way to the final round of that show before coming in second during the finale.

This spring, Young appeared in the seven episodes of “Best Baker in America.” In a similar format, bakers competed in such segments as “Cake, Glorious Cake,” “Wedding Spectacular” and “Magnificent Meringue.”

Among the creations they had to whip up were their own versions of the “ultimate” New York cheesecake with apple as the featured flavor, a Charlotte Royale — also known as “brain cake” — with peanut butter as the featured flavor, and a “fire and ice” dessert that features one frozen element, one bruleed element and mint as the featured flavor.

In last week’s finale, called “Chocolate Crescendo,” Young had to make a perfect glazed Austrian chocolate cake called “sachertorte,” as well as a chocolate cake for 100 people that featured caramel flavor and elaborate chocolate decorations, three types of chocolate and three flavors of chocolate bonbons.

Obviously Young knows how to handle chocolate.

Adam, 33, 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.

“We are extremely proud,” Anne Young said this past Tuesday morning when reached by phone. “He’s worked hard for this, and we all appreciate it very much, especially the community support that has rallied behind him.”

Back in 2000, once he saw what a hard worker his teenage dishwasher was, Brandon Inn chef 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 (NECI).

But 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.

Young went on the 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.

But then three 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. They have a young daughter, Stella, who is two years old.

Sift is now a destination in the tourist seaport town, and Young is a local celebrity. But he still makes it back to Vermont once in a while. On the weekend before the “Best Baker in America” finale aired, Young was back in Montpelier for NECI’s 2018 graduation as the commencement speaker. He also received the NECI Alumni of Distinction Award.

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