On Sunday, Sept. 15, 120 parishioners, friends and supporters gathered inside Canning Hall at St. Paul’s Church in Edgewood to watch the final four contestants on the Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” – including Father Adam Young, the church’s pastor.
Coordinated by parishioners, the viewing event featured several raffles and a full table of donated sweet treats.
Before the show aired at 9 p.m., Young shared his audition tape for the show with the crowd. He took on a tongue-in-cheek tone for the audition, appearing to be fearful of the kitchen.
“I have this lovely knife set I received for Christmas that I never used. I don’t know what dredging or quartering means. My oven only gets turned on for heating a frozen pizza,” he said on the tape.
Young’s good friend, and fellow clergyman Father Brian Morris shot the video and was sworn to secrecy. For the audition, Young prepared a chicken dish and a potato dish from a cookbook called “The Celibate Gourmet.”
After the video was shown, Young conducted a brief Q-and-A session with the crowd.
“We were sequestered somewhere on Long Island [during the show’s taping],” he recalled. “Only [Providence] Bishop [Thomas Tobin] and the office staff of the church knew where I was. We would leave the hotel every day at 7:30 a.m. It took two days to shoot one episode.”
Young praised the show’s two celebrity chefs, Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay.
“While it looks like they are yelling or complaining all the time, they really were very hands on,” he said. “What you couldn’t see was the time off camera where they teaching us. It was really a one-on-one experience.”
In Sunday’s episode, Young found himself standing alongside Juliann Sheldon from Charlotte, North Carolina, to see who would move on to the season finale representing Chef Anne.
Young fared well in the preliminary round, making a dinner of a protein, starch and green vegetable with $15. For the main dish challenge, the contestants had to replicate a dish cooked by Burrell consisting of duck, couscous and a dessert.
Young got in the weeds early on with his cookie dough. Unfortunately, the details slipped away from him, and he omitted the cookies from his final plate. Burrell chose Sheldon to take to the finals.
Despite the result, the room at St. Paul’s erupted into applause for Young and all his efforts.
At the end of the evening, after all the raffle winners had been pulled, there was one special prize left – a dinner for four people, cooked by Young in the rectory kitchen. The lucky winner was Andrea Drowne.
“Father Young is just what our parish needs and deserves – a young, energetic, relatable, charismatic and holy man,” said Roberta Zimmerly, who coordinated Sunday’s event. “His sense of humor amplifies all the good works he has done. He surrounds himself with all kinds of people to carry out the plan to move our parish from maintenance to mission.”
Sunday’s event raised $1,282 to benefit the school at St. Paul’s. Another $500 was raised through ticket sales in August.