The heat is about to get turned up on Maine native Zac Young, who is one of 12 up-and-coming pastry chefs from across the country selected to compete in the new reality TV series “Top Chef Just Desserts.”

The show premieres Sept. 15 at 11 p.m. on the Bravo network.

Young, executive pastry chef at Flex Mussels in New York, grew up in Portland, where he attended Breakwater and Waynflete schools before graduating from Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Mass. He studied at the Boston Conservatory before moving to New York to pursue a career on Broadway.

While working in the wig department of the Radio City Rockettes, Young decided to take his passion for baking in a more serious direction and enrolled in and graduated from The Institute of Culinary Education in New York.

He later trained in France with Philippe Givre at Valrhona and Philippe Parc at Chocolate Michel Cluizel. His resume includes stints at Bouchon Bakery and Butter Restaurant.

His mother, Susan Lebel Young, who is a fan of health food and characterizes her diet as “mostly vegan,” finds it humorous that her son now works with butter, sugar and white flour on a daily basis.


However, she’s not surprised by his success in the baking world, noting “chemistry was always his strongest subject academically.”

His mother and father, Jonathan Young, live in Falmouth.

“Top Chef Just Desserts,” a spin-off of “Top Chef,” will be hosted by Gail Simmons, a long-time “Top Chef” judge. Contestants will be judged by Johnny Iuzzini, executive pastry chef at Restaurant Jean Georges; Hubert Keller, a finalist on “Top Chef Masters”; and Dannielle Kyrillos, an editor at the DailyCandy website.

Each week contestants will be cut from the high-stakes baking competition, with the winner taking home $100,000, a 2011 Buick Regal and a selection of other prizes.


Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:


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