Color-blind Richmond baker competes in Food Network’s ‘Spring Baking Championship’ | Television

By Rob Owen Special Envoy

Are you tuning in to see Richmond native and pastry chef Justin Ross compete as a color-blind baker in Food Network’s “Spring Baking Championship”?

The contest is currently airing at 8 p.m. Monday on TV and streaming on Discovery+.

“It’s a spring show, and knowing that, being extra colorful with the food or the desserts that are going to be created was really going to be a drag,” Ross says. “It would be a way to really push myself…and hopefully be an inspiration to someone else who might see themselves with some type of disability or think they’re disadvantaged and overcome that.”

Ross, who runs JC’s Desserts at Hatch Kitchen RVA, says being a colorblind chef is a daily challenge, especially when doing custom work where customers request specific colors.

“Of course, we live in 2022, and there’s an app for that,” Ross laughs. “I just take a picture and the app takes it, and I can swipe my finger over different parts of the picture, and then it’ll tell me which color is which.”

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Of course, when you’re on a TV baking show, cell phones and apps aren’t allowed.

“I was trying to play towards my strength, really trying to hit home with the flavors and hopefully take it to the next level and hopefully compensate for the color blindness in some areas,” Ross said, 31, noting that he was the most worried. on creating “cute spring” desserts given that her confections, especially her artisanal chocolates, offer more of a “mature, sexy vibe.”

Ross is one of 12 contestants in the series hosted by Molly Yeh and judged by Food Network stars Duff Goldman, Kardea Brown and Nancy Fuller. The winner will win a grand prize of $25,000. More information on the show’s website.

Ross, a 2008 graduate of Varina High School and a 2014 graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina, returned to Richmond in 2020 after a stint as pastry sous chef at the Greenbrier in White Sulfur Springs, W.Va.

“Much of what I learned about chocolates was formed while I was at the Greenbrier, where I was able to have plenty of free time and a quiet space to study, practice and train the chocolates I create. today,” says Ross. “I learned so many tips and tricks going from Norman Love Confections in Florida to my time in North Carolina and the Greenbrier, so this is really a mashup or collage of a bunch of different chefs really putting a print [on me] in different ways. »

JC’s Desserts – taken from his initials, Justin Christopher – opened a year ago. Ross fulfills orders through his website,, for pickup, delivery, or shipping.

“We really want to become a physical business and have locations from the Midlothian area to Short Pump and downtown as well,” says Ross, noting that much of his business is through his Facebook page, /JCDesserts, and Instagram,, is how a casting producer found Ross and recruited him for “Spring Baking Championship,” which filmed summer 2021 in Knoxville, Tenn. .

“You go in there thinking it’s you against everyone else,” Ross says. “But once you get there and meet everyone, it really becomes you against yourself.”

Rob Owen is a former Times-Dispatch editor. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Facebook and Twitter under @RobOwenTV.

Karl M. Bailey