Meet the Bakers Vying for Best Baker in America

Get to know the nine world-class bakers competing for bragging rights and a $25,000 prize.

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Meet the Elite Bakers

These nine bakers will have to prove to the judges that they have what it takes to be the best.

Adam Young, Mystic, Conn.

Baking style: A balance of modern and traditional

Favorite cake and frosting flavors: The Opera torte — almond sponge, coffee buttercream, ganache

Signature dish: Laminations like the croissant or Danish

Best baking advice I’ve ever received: An Austrian chef I worked for when I was 15 or 16 said, "Stay true to yourself once you learn the techniques. It’s up to you to hold yourself accountable with those techniques." I also worked for a Portuguese chef in Florida who taught me how important it was to give back to the next generation.

Becca Craig, Philadelphia

Signature dish: Geode cakes or hand-painted cakes

Favorite cake and frosting flavors: Lemon-zested cake with lemon-thyme curd and honey goat cheese frosting

First dessert I mastered: Layered cake

Best baking advice I’ve ever received: One of my chef-mentors from school said not to reinvent the wheel and just do everything right and do it well.

Frania Mendivil, Los Angeles

Baking style: Elegant, contemporary, flavorful

Greatest strength in the kitchen: I push to the extreme. I don't get tired.

Favorite cake and frosting flavors: Chocolate cremeaux, banana sponge and a chocolate mirror glaze

Best baking advice I've ever received: An instructor told me, "When you start something, better to start correctly or otherwise you have to start all over."

Jean-Francois Suteau, White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.

Baking style: Classic French with a modern twist

Favorite dessert to make: Eclair

First dessert I mastered: Choux

Best baking advice I’ve ever received: When I first started my mom told me, "Keep your head up and keep pushing. It's going to be a long journey and it’s not going to be easy, but I believe in you."

Jeremy Fogg, New Orleans

Baking style: Elevated comfort food or refined rustic

Signature dish: S'mores ice cream sandwich

Trend I want to try: Ruby chocolate

Favorite cake-frosting flavor combo: Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting. No walnuts, raisins, pineapple.

Kym Delost, Chicago

Baking style: Pastry ADD. I love everything. I love modern techniques. I love kitschy technique.

Signature dish: Anything with cake in it, specifically cheesecake.

Favorite cake and frosting flavors: Black currant and hazelnut

Best baking advice I’ve ever received: It's not really what she said, but everything that Mindy Segal stands for: You have to cook from the heart and you have to taste everything all the time.

Lasheeda Perry, Atlanta

Baking style: Nostalgic with a contemporary twist, but still approachable

Favorite dessert to make: Ice cream

Favorite cake and frosting flavors: Lemon and blueberry

Best baking advice I’ve ever received: My mentor taught me there is always a solution. It might not be the best one at the time but you reflect on it later.

Leigh Omilinsky, Chicago

Baking style: Technique-based. I like to bring familiar flavors to the table so it’s not completely unapproachable.

Signature dish: French macaron

Favorite cake and frosting flavors: Coffee and lemon

Best baking advice I’ve ever received: Slow down, don’t get ahead of yourself. You can’t rush it. It takes time, so give it time.

Max Santiago, Miami

Baking style: Cutting edge

Favorite dessert to make: Donuts

Strongest skill set: Knowing what flavors go well together. I like to keep things fresh.

Trend I want to try: Veganism and superfoods. I want to use superfoods like juiced kale and special flours. I want to make a superfood donut.