Alex Young founded Zingerman’s Roadhouse as chef and managing partner in September 2003, operating as one of the seven businesses in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. Serving really good American food, Alex is a five-time James Beard nominated Best Chef in the Great Lakes Region, winning the title in 2011. The same year, Roadhouse Macaroni and Cheese was named the Best Comfort Food in America by Alton Brown’s Food Network show America’s Best. In 2009, the Roadhouse was given the honor of being named one of the “Top 10 New Barbecue Restaurants” by Bon Appetit.
At the age of 17 with no professional culinary training, Alex moved to New York City and landed his first kitchen job cooking for The Central Falls Roadshow. From there he worked in many different kitchens throughout the country, helping open New York’s China Grill with Chef Mako Tenaka, working for Chef Reed Heron at San Francisco’s Corona Bar and Grill, and opening The Pittsburgh Fish Market in Pennsylvania. He was named the first corporate chef of the Hilton Restaurant Group before being introduced to Zingerman’s co-founders Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig in 2000 and beginning the journey to opening Zingerman’s Roadhouse together.
Alex’s passion for local agriculture and farming steered him to founding and opening Cornman Farms, what is now a 42 acre farm in Dexter, MI, eight miles from the Roadhouse. Growing more than 70 varietals of vegetables and caring for over 150 animals, Alex has made the farm-to-table dining experience come to life in Southeast Michigan. Educating the staff, the patrons, the community and local students on the importance of farming and knowing where food comes from earned Alex the honor of being one of the founding twelve top chefs from around the country named to the Chef Action Network. Working with these chefs, Alex has marched on Capitol Hill to fight for healthier school lunches and a change in local and national food policy. In 2015, Alex traveled to the James Beard American Restaurant at the World’s Fair in Milan, Italy, highlighting really good American food.