Image courtesy of StarChefs (@starchefs/Instagram)
b. patisserie’s Belinda Leong and Michel Suas were announced on Monday, May 7 as the 2018 recipients of the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Baker award. They were among many winners announced at the gala in Chicago.

The duo is a multiple-time nominee for the award. In San Francisco, b. patisserie showcases the combination of Belinda Leong’s talent with Michel Suas’ knowledge and expertise. The bakery is regarded as a star on the culinary scene in San Francisco.

The partnership between Leong and Suas was a long time in the making. In 2005, Leong’s constant quest for knowledge led her to the San Francisco Baking Institute, where she took a class and met Suas. Years later they would meet again when Leong came back from Europe with the idea of opening b. patisserie. She sought advice and direction from Suas. In 2011, with hopes for b. patisserie lingering, Leong became the head pastry chef at Manresa. While at Manresa, she decided to introduce her pastries to the public through pop-ups and partnerships with select coffee shops.

At an early planning discussion, Suas quickly composed a preliminary layout for the space and Leong brought out a sketch of her “dream” shop drawn two years earlier while staging in Paris. They were happy to discover their designs were an exact match. Leong and Suas realized their ideas were a shared vision.

JBF Award winners will receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia, as well as the honor and prestige that come with the distinctions.

Other Outstanding Baker finalists were Dianna Daoheung of Black Seed Bagels in New York City, Zachary Golper of Bien Cuit in Brooklyn, Maura Kilpatrick of Sofra Bakery and Café in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Alison Pray of Standard Baking Co. in Portland, Maine, and Greg Wade of Publican Quality Bread in Chicago.

The following are several key awards handed out in this year’s James Beard Foundation awards:

Outstanding Baker

Belinda Leong and Michel Suas: B. Patisserie, San Francisco

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Dolester Miles, Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham AL

Outstanding Chef

Gabrielle Hamilton, Prune, NYC

Outstanding Restaurant

Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham AL

Best New Restaurant

JuneBaby, Seattle