bake - April 2018 - 49

Now as executive pastry chef and co-owner of b. patisserie in
San Francisco, she brings the same magic that she experienced
in Paris to every product she makes, from the delicate and flaky
kouign amann to the savory Gougère Feuilletée. "I love ingredients that give texture," she says.
Born in 1977 in San Francisco, Leong grew up in a family of
five, with one older sister and one older brother. Her parents
own a manufacturing plant that produces Chinese products
for various Asian markets; her father creates the entire product
line. She remembers baking in middle school when they had
extracurricular classes and at summer camp.
Leong studied at the Hospitality and Restaurant program at
City College of San Francisco. She considers her mentors to be
Gary Danko and Michel Suas. One of her inspirations is Pierre
Herme. Her first pastry job was at Aqua Restaurant in 1997.
The menu at b. patisserie features a wide variety of creative
pastries, ranging from her Vanilla Cassis Cake (vanilla mascarpone, sable breton, cassis ganache, chiffon cake and vanilla
glacage) to the Yuzu Lemon Tart (yuzu custard, lemon cream

Belinda Leong of b. patisserie is recognized for her strict attention to detail.

and lemon confit).
leader in artisan bread and pastry education. TMB Baking
Leong draws her inspirations from everything around her. "I

Company and Thorough Bread Bakery followed shortly there-

like classic flavors. I can be at a coffee shop, supermarket, ice

after. In 2009 Suas wrote and published his critically acclaimed

cream shop, juice shop and restaurant. I can also eat a really

book, "Advanced Bread and Pastry: A Professional Approach,"

good fruit and create around that. My philosophy is just to have

which has since guided many professionals in the industry.

fun with what I am doing, work hard at it and put my love and
passion into all the pastries."

The partnership between Leong and Suas was a long time in
the making. In 2005, Leong's constant quest for knowledge

She began her career as a pastry chef at Restaurant Gary

led her to the San Francisco Baking Institute, where she took

Danko in San Francisco in 1999. After eight successful years,

a class and met Suas. Years later they would meet again when

she left the restaurant for Europe to stage at some of the most

Leong came back from Europe with the idea of opening b.

esteemed restaurants and patisseries in Paris, Barcelona and

patisserie. She sought advice and direction from Suas. In 2011,

Copenhagen. After two years in Europe, she returned to the

with hopes for b. patisserie lingering, Leong became the head

Bay Area and became pastry chef at Manresa Restaurant, a

pastry chef at Manresa. While at Manresa, she decided to intro-

two-star Michelin Restaurant, in Los Gatos, California, before

duce her pastries to the public through pop-ups and partner-

opening b. patisserie.

ships with select coffee shops.

Suas, a native of France, started baking when he was 14. At the

At an early planning discussion, Suas quickly composed a

age of 21, he was named the head pastry chef at Restaurant

preliminary layout for the space and Leong brought out a

Barrier in Paris. Barrier was one of 12 French restaurants

sketch of her "dream" shop drawn two years earlier while

honored with the coveted three-star Michelin award. Suas later

staging in Paris. They were happy to discover their designs

moved to the Bay Area and established the San Francisco

were an exact match. Leong and Suas realized their ideas were

Baking Institute in 1996. The SFBI has become a renowned

a shared vision. | APR 2018 > 49

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of bake - April 2018