Despite being the youngest of nine Food Network competitors and one of the bottom two bakers at one point, Garnet Valley High School graduate Jordan Pilarski had a secret ingredient that laid the foundation for his $50,000 win in the Spring Baking Championship: architecture.
“I wanted to be an architect forever,” Pilarski said in a Food Network interview by Joseph Erdos. “My grandfather was a self-made architect. He graduated high school, didn’t go to college, opened up some firm – he started in his basement – and I always was around. So I always was working with my hands with my grandfather.”
Now that skill gives him an advantage in the kitchen.
“I think it’s my architectural mind; it’s the precise, the numbers, the creating, working with your hands in just a different medium,” said Pilarski, 22, who played college baseball at Johnson & Wales. “And I really enjoy what I do now.
“I’m forever grateful for what he’s given me and what lessons he’s taught me, especially to be diligent, be grateful for everything you have, don’t expect things. You work for everything you’ve got.”
Later in high school, Pilarski acquired a love of food from watching none other than the Food Network, and his days playing college baseball in Rhode Island set the stage for the seven-episode championship.
“Through the whole season, I was extremely positive. I wasn’t very down,” Pilarski said. “I never got really upset. I took the constructive criticism, and I ran with it. Being in sports, I got yelled at 24/7, no matter what I was doing, so I’m used to taking the negative comments and the constructive criticism, but what sets me apart is I really took that in.”
Read more about Jordan Pilarski’s triumph and what it proves on the Food Network website here.