JBF Award Semifinalists Belinda Leong and Michel Suas
In San Francisco, b. Patisserie showcases the combination of Belinda Leong’s talent with Michel Suas’ knowledge and expertise.
Belinda Leong began her career as a pastry chef at Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco in 1999. After eight successful years, she left the restaurant for Europe to stage at some of the most esteemed restaurants and patisseries in Paris, Barcelona, and Copenhagen. After two years in Europe, Belinda returned to the Bay Area and became pastry chef at Manresa Restaurant, a two star Michelin Restaurant, in Los Gatos, California before opening b.Patisserie.
Michel Suas, a native of France, started baking when he was fourteen. At the age of 21, he was named the head pastry chef at Restaurant Barrier, in Paris, France. Barrier was one of twelve French restaurants honored the coveted three star Michelin award. Michel later moved to the Bay Area and established the San Francisco Baking Institute in 1996. The Institute has become a renowned leader in artisan bread and pastry education. TMB Baking Company and Thorough Bread Bakery, followed shortly thereafter. In 2009 Michel wrote and published his critically acclaimed book, “Advanced Bread and Pastry: A Professional Approach”, which has since guided many professionals in the industry.
The partnership between Belinda and Michel has been a long time in the making. In 2005, Belinda’s constant quest for knowledge led her to the San Francisco Baking Institute where she took a class and briefly met Michel. Years later they would meet again when Belinda came back from Europe with the idea of opening b. Patisserie and sought advice and direction from Michel. In 2011, with hopes for b. Patisserie lingering, Belinda became the head pastry chef at Manresa. While at Manresa, Belinda decided to introduce her pastries to the public through “pop-ups” and partnerships with select coffee shops.
The success of her “pop-ups” encouraged Belinda to focus solely on b. Patisserie. Belinda and Michel kept in close contact and soon decided to become partners. Today, the bakery is regarded as a star on the culinary scene in San Francisco.
Belinda and Michel are multiple-time nominees for the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Baker award.