Food Network Pastry Pundit, Chef/Owner PieCaken Bakeshop
Named one of the top 10 pastry chefs in America in 2015 by Dessert Professional, chef Zac Young is known for his playful takes on American desserts, including the all-in-one Thanksgiving dessert sensation, The PieCaken.
After graduating with honors from the baking and pastry arts program at the Institute of Culinary Education, he went straight to the top, working under Sebastian Rouxel and Richard Capizzi at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery. In 2006, his talents were recognized by Alexandra Guarnaschelli, and he spent four years working as pastry chef at her downtown New York hot spot, Butter Restaurant. Always hungry for more, Young then trained in France under renowned chefs Philippe Givre at Valrhona and Philippe Park at Chocolat Michel Cluizel.
Upon returning to New York, Young started a donut revolution with his dessert program at Flex Mussels Restaurants, also operating two pop-up donut stores in Grand Central Station. During that time, he was included on The New York Times list of the Best Donuts in New York City, compelling the paper’s restaurant critic, Frank Bruni, to write, “how lucky of us to find room for dessert.”
In 2012, Young joined the David Burke Group, now known as Craveable Hospitality Group, a nationwide restaurant group specializing in food and beverage management, licensing, and consulting. As pastry director, he oversees the dessert creations of the company’s proprietary restaurants and bars, including SaltBrick Tavern, David Burke Prime, David Burke at Bloomingdale’s, David Burke Kitchen, Aspen Kitchen, and Jimmy. Several new full-service concepts are currently in the works. He also develops new ideas for licensing and consulting partnerships with Legends Hospitality (Bacon Bar, Handwich Shop, Caputo Pizzeria, Fat Belly Clam Shack) and Silver Spot Cinemas (Trilogy Restaurants).
Young is best known for his final four finish on the inaugural season of Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts and showcasing his signature wit and pastry wisdom on The Cooking Channel’s long running show Unique Sweets. He frequently appears on Food Network as a judge on shows such as Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay, Worst Cooks in America, King of Cones, and Worst Bakers in America.
Young has had the privilege to cook at The James Beard House in New York City and twice at their Hamptons event, Chefs and Champagne. He was honored when Food & Wine magazine selected him to sail the high seas as the Holland America Cruise Line’s “Chef on Board.”
When Young grows up, he wants to be a competitive dim sum eater.