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Adam Libby: A Bold Chef Who’s Become a Social Media Phenomenon

March 24, 2022

Since Adam Libby was a little boy, he’s been an entertainer. Back then, he put on plays in his yard—confidently assimilating all the characters—and people in his small town of Lincoln, Maine, would come to see him.

“He’s a comedian and a storyteller. He doesn’t shy away from the limelight at all,” laughs Teresa Hess, a community living coordinator at the Mosaic service Living Innovations. “Sometimes when he’s talking with you, he imitates a character in a movie he’s recently watched, and he does a really good job.”

In fact, according to his twin sister, Emily McCormick-Libby, “Adam has always loved entertaining, and he’s always dreamt of becoming an actor.”

Emily added he loves to cook, too, and has done so almost his entire life.

Adam, 30, was born with Down syndrome. Mosaic is passionate about helping people like Adam lead meaningful, healthy lives on their own terms. With more than 100 years of experience of providing care, the Nebraska-based organization supports people and communities in more than a dozen states, from Arizona to Adam’s home state of Maine.

To combine all of Adam’s attributes, his Living Innovations support team came up with the idea of his recording and posting “how-to” cooking videos on the social media platform TikTok. “I thought this would be a great way for him to reach people, show off his personality and focus on his conversation skills,” added Emily. “My wife, who’s a professional videographer, and I started with his first post on how to cook burritos.” That was April 16, 2021.

With his older sister, Brianne, assisting as well, they continued by trying to post at least one video each week. Adam gradually gained 1,000 followers and celebrated the milestone with a video of him making cupcakes. That was July 30.

But it was a short time after, on August 6, when Adam demonstrated making pizza in a woodfired pizza oven, he went viral. We’re talking worldwide viral. That video garnered almost 12.4 million views and shot up the number of his followers to 612,000 with 3.4 million likes on his videos.

In another segment, where he’s exuberantly shouting out what has become his popular catchphrase, “holy crow, man!”, he made homemade french fries that could best any short order cook’s. That video has captured 924,000 views to date.

A few weeks ago, Adam’s TikTok account hit 1.5 million followers.

“He just loves what he’s doing; he’s just eating it up,” stated Emily. “It’s unbelievable. I can’t get my head around how many people are following him and engaging with him!”

With his jubilant and upliftingpersonality, Adam’s such an inspiration that he’s making videos with some of his biggest fans. In one, he’s encouraging a young boy, also with intellectual disabilities, to cook a meal for his family (albeit a meal made of a quick-service restaurant’s chicken nuggets and fries): “Good job, dude! You’re making your mom proud of you!”

Additionally, he’s captured the heart of professional chefs. Tommy Isidori, an executive chef at a Fairfield, Connecticut, country club, sent a chef’s coat with “Chef Adam Libby” embroidered on the front. Isidori also included a professional chef’s knife.

“Chef Tommy is my favorite chef,” said Adam, and he has a few others. At the mention of Chef Gordon Ramsay, his face instantly lit up. “Yeah, I like him too!”

“He hopes Chef Ramsay will see his videos so he can meet him one day,” added Emily. “Chef Ramsay is tagged in many of his posts and comments from his followers.”

Besides the news coverage in his hometown newspaper and on the local CBS affiliate, Adam is being covered by many other social media channels and media outlets overseas. “No one contacted us,” remarked Emily. “We just saw the other stories, including some in England, when we Googled ‘Chef Adam Libby.’

“The thing I love most about my brother is he has this excitement and this joy and happiness, and it’s contagious. It doesn’t surprise us that once the world saw him, they would love him, too.

“I’ve never seen him happier, and he’s become so much more independent. He has his own life now with his own passion and career. It’s all so wonderful.”

Oh, did we mention Adam also has 17,000 followers on Instagram?

Mosaic is a member of Lutheran Services in America, a national network of 300 Lutheran health and human services organizations that lifts up one in 50 people in America each year.