Alexander was born in London, England, and immigrated to the United States in 1966. Raised on the coast in Northern California, Alexander was exposed to many fine foods that were readily available from the sea and local farms. Fresh lamb, wild King Salmon, Mussels, and vegetables from his mother’s garden were the regular fair. Traveling to Europe and throughout Latin America were regular occurrences as well, which gave the young chef a taste for fine chocolates and rich spices along with the realization that there are many fine foods and cooking styles that were not common in America at that time.
At the age of 17, Alexander moved to New York City where he started working at a family friend’s restaurant as a busboy, and it was not long before he was allowed to cook in the kitchen which was the young chef’s true desire. He spent the following few years cooking simple foods as taught by the chef, to deliver to many of the movie stars of the 1980s as they specialized in feature film catering. Young then was allowed to help open the China Grill, where he was taken under the chef’s wing and taught many Japanese techniques and French-Japenese fusion skills.
Young left the China Grill for his first managerial position in the hotel industry and he quickly learned that the career of a chef was his passion. The French-trained chef ran a tight ship and Young admired the position. After a brief time of working with Reed Heron of the Coyote Cafe and learning to appreciate the French-influenced cuisines of Mexico, Young left for some training in London England. The art of daily menu making after visiting the markets and creating the evenings fair was the attention to detail that Young appreciated.
Young returned to the United States and found himself in Michigan with his future wife and wanted to be an Executive Chef in a major American hotel. After spending a few years working his way up the hotel “food chain” Young found himself working in Long Beach California transitioning a 640 room Shereton into a Westin and being promoted to Area Chef for Starwood Hotels which exposed him to the processes of large banquets and of national standard-setting. He was involved in creating the beef program for Westin nationwide and was asked to host their national catering sales convention. The large banquets and intricacies of the multiple outlets involved in large hotels benefited from Young’s varied training, attention to detail, and work ethic.
Young was recruited by Doubletree Hotels to open the flagship Pittsburgh Fish Market restaurant for those same reasons. The Fish Markets were highly
successful and propelled Young to Corporate Chef status through two acquisitions and eventually to lead Hilton Hotels North American Restaurant Group.
Young and his wife had a young family and she desired to live in southeast Michigan, so Young found Zingerman’s and decided to work with them to build a new restaurant and catering operation for them while helping to bring a new level of financial understanding to the company. Zingerman’s Roadhouse was born and after a few years gathered many awards and national honors, the James Beard Foundation recognized Young as the Best Chef Great Lakes. The first and only Chef from Michigan to win the award in many years. Young pursued agricultural activism in the area and helped to found the James Beard’s Chef Action Network and among other things established a custom butchering program and dry-aging facility for the restaurant. Chef Young then opened The Standard Bistro, a French restaurant inspired by the chef’s love of Julia Child and Jaque Pippen.
Chef Young has now joined the Vinology team on Main Street in Ann
Arbor. His new menu focuses on seasonal produce to compose fresh, bright, and complex flavors that emphasize wine-friendly world cuisine. The menu will constantly evolve to reflect Chef Young’s deep experience and constant study of flavors from around the world.