Top Chef is known for whipping up great characters and Zac Young is, without a doubt, one of them. Although he didn’t take the top prize during the first season of Top Chef Just Desserts, he won our hearts with his quick wit, hilarious commentary, and mouthwatering confections like his signature donut holes.
We recently caught up with Zac at the James Hotel in NYC, where he’s just taken on the delectable role of pastry chef at David Burke’s Treehouse bar. He dished with us about the upcoming season of Top Chef and gave us some useful tips on what to do with our excess Halloween candy.
Loop du Loop: You’ve totally revamped the Treehouse bar menu. What’s on it?
Zac Young: There’s lots of great snacks and desserts with a bar food kind of theme. Like we have a bacon-peanut caramel corn which, for me, is like the ultimate bar snack. There’s also deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and, of course, donuts.
Leftover Halloween candy. What do we do with it?
I’m a big fan of chopping up the chocolate bars and putting them in a bread pudding. Making lollipops with leftover hard candy is really fun, too. Crush them up, sprinkle them on a baking sheet, and pop them in the oven with sticks in them and you can make your own lollipops.
The new season of Top Chef kicks off soon. What do you think of Seattle as the location?
I think it’s a great choice. Seattle has a fantastic food scene. The produce that you get there is phenomenal. And of course, the seafood, because you’re right on the water. They have some of the best oysters coming in. The accessibility of those ingredients is fantastic. And Seattle is a creative town — you have people doing really, really interesting things with food there. So I think it’s going to be a really exciting season.
In terms of Just Desserts, if they asked you to come back next season as a judge, would you do it?
Of course. You know, having moved on and judging a lot of things now, I actually enjoy being on the other side of the table. The more I judge, the better a chef I become. You learn so much from it.
And if they did a Just Desserts: All Stars?
Hell yeah, I’d be back! I want the tiara that is rightfully mine.