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'Top Chef: Just Desserts': Meet The Contestants, Predict The Winner (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 09/15/10 02:14 PM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 06:40 PM ET


Top Chef: Just Desserts premieres tonight on Bravo, right after we learn the winner of the seventh season of regular ol' Top Chef, finishing up in Singapore, by way of DC. An unprecedented dosage of Top Cheffage, certainly. And everything you need to know about it is below.

Here are the lucky pastry chef'testants. Who will be out first? Who will hang on to win the first ever title of... "Top Chef but for pastry."*

Zac Young
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AGE: 27
HOMETOWN: Portland, Maine – currently resides in New York, N.Y.
PROFESSION: Executive Pastry Chef, Flex Mussels
CULINARY EDUCATION: A.O.S. Baking and Pastry Arts, Institute of Culinary Education
FAVORITE SIMPLE FALL DESSERT RECIPE: "Upside-Down" Apple Crisp with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream.

While employed in the wig department of the Radio City Rockettes, Zac Young had an epiphany: he would rather be baking cookies than fluffing Santa beards. Born to a vegan mother, Zac never had chocolate mousse, but knew all too well the flavor of a tofu and carob pudding. After graduating with honors from the baking and pastry arts program at the Institute of Culinary Education, Zac went straight to the top, working under Sebastian Rouxel and Richard Capizzi at Bouchon Bakery. In 2006 he was offered a position of Pastry Chef at the New York City hot-spot Butter Restaurant. While there, Zac developed his signature style, using classic French technique, bold flavors, and fun to put a creative twist on American desserts. Always hungry for more, he trained in France with such renowned chefs as Philippe Givre at Valrhona and Philippe Parc at Chocolate Michel Cluizel. In 2009, Zac moved uptown to the bustling bivalve mecca Flex Mussels. His whimsical creations caught the fancy of New York Times’ Restaurant Critic Frank Bruni, causing him to exclaim, “how lucky of us to find room for dessert” in his review of Flex. In his free time, he can be seen making dresses out of chocolate for the opening night of the International Chocolate Show. His mother is proud, even though his desserts are not vegan.
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Our lucky competitors will be judged by:

Gail Simmons of Food & Wine, who you may remember from such shows as Top Chef (non-pastry editions)

Johnny Iuzzini, pastry chef uber-star, most recently at Restaurant Jean Georges, Nougatine, and Perry Street, and possibly destined for Michael White's rapidly expanding empire (or then again, maybe not).

Hubert Keller, chef of Fleur de Lys in San Francisco and Las Vegas, Burger Bar in Las Vegas, St Louis, and San Francisco, and SLeeK Steakhouse and Ultra Lounge in St Louis.

Dannielle Kyrillos, Editor-at-Large of DailyCandy, which is a metaphor but we're keeping an open mind about all this.


Who will they send home with $100,000? Predict the winner!

Who will win Top Chef: Just Desserts?

  • Zac Young

  • Yigit Pura

  • Tim Nugent

  • Tania Peterson

  • Seth Caro

  • Morgan Wilson

  • Malika Ameen

  • Heather Hurlbert

  • Heather Chittum

  • Erika Davis

  • Eric Wolitzky

  • Danielle Keene

Predict it!
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Here's Bravo's palate-wetter for tonights premiere:

While all the pastries and sweets might give the judges and viewers a sugar high, to the newest chef'testants this is serious business. For the first elimination challenge the chefs must take on a popular, yet temperamental ingredient, the one-and-only chocolate. Will the chefs be able to impress the king of chocolate and Week 1 judge Jacques Torres, or will the tricky ingredient be too much too handle at the beginning of the competition? Find out on the premiere of BRAVO's Top Chef Just Desserts 9/15 @ 11/10c

And some preview videos, courtesy of Bravo:

Taking on America's Sweet Tooth: 12 of America's talented pastry chefs go at it for the inaugural season of Top Chef: Just Desserts.


Everyone's Favorite Ingredient: For their first challenge, the chefs work with chocolate:


* Okay, we do not know the official honorific yet.

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Filed by Colin Sterling  |