While we continue to move full steam ahead with several new projects in the works this summer, we are excited to announce that we have recently appointed a new Head of Culinary! In this integral role overseeing all of our restaurants, Chef Patricia Yeo joins us with an illustrious career spanning neighbourhood to fine-dining establishments, group restaurants to luxury five-star resorts. A star of the international food scene, Chef Yeo’s unique culinary style is influenced by her multi-cultural background spanning Malaysia to England and the United States, and her many awards and accolades include winning two MICHELIN stars for her restaurant, AZ in 2002; receiving three stars from The New York Times for the Mediterranean concept, Pazo in 2004; and two stars from The New York Times for Sapa in 2008.
Born in Malaysia to Chinese parents, Yeo attended boarding school in England and was on her way to completing a prestigious biochemistry degree from Princeton University, when, in a life-changing turn of events, she enrolled in a cooking class at New York Restaurant School where she happened to meet celebrity chef, Bobby Flay, with whom she built an instant rapport. Yeo’s newfound hobby quickly turned into a passionate pursuit, as she traded in her lab coat for chef whites to embark on a culinary journey of a lifetime.
Over the next several years, she gained a fluency in Southwestern cooking while working alongside Flay to open his New York restaurants, Miracle Grill, Mesa Grill and Bolo. This formative decade in her career also saw her perform stints on the West Coast: At China Moon, she trained under cookbook author and Chinese scholar Barbara Tropp, who gave Yeo her first real glimpse into the vast and varied foodways of Asia. Later, feeling a nostalgic pull to her Asian roots, Yeo returned to California to open Hawthorne Lane under Chef Anne Gingrass, which received rave reviews and picked up three stars from the San Francisco Chronicle.
In 1999, Yeo branched out on her own to open the boundary-breaking restaurant, AZ in Manhattan, where her cheeky, pan-Asian style manifested in signature dishes such as duck schnitzel and chicken smoked in Lapsang tea leaves. (The restaurant inspired her first cookbook, “Cooking from A to Z”, and was awarded two MICHELIN stars in 2002.) She continued to experiment at the Mediterranean-inspired Pazo, which was awarded three stars from The New York Times in 2004; and at Sapa, where she parlayed experiences from her extensive travels into a cross-cultural menu spanning Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand influences. With a growing fan following, she launched her second cookbook, “Everyday Asian”, in 2005.
After further embedding herself in the food traditions of Southeast Asia as a roaming restaurant consultant, Yeo’s next major culinary move came in 2009, when she departed the Big Apple for Boston. Over the next chapter of her career, Yeo would transform the local Asian food scene with her creative spin on classic Asian dishes and ingredients, first helming the kitchen at Ginger Park, then as Executive Chef of OM Restaurant & Lounge, and finally as chef-owner of Moksa, a breezy izakaya inspired by the street food culture of China, Japan and Southeast Asia.
During this period, Yeo’s career took a turn towards stardom when she stepped into the national spotlight as a contestant on season four of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters; set against the flashy backdrop of Sin City, she competed against a line-up of world-renowned chefs. After her television stint, Yeo stepped into roles that lent themselves to expanding her knowledge and expertise, from creative director of Chicago-based Asian restaurant Big Bowl, down to Miami where she spearheaded culinary operations for 50 Eggs Hospitality Group, and ultimately on a nomadic journey across the Middle East where her work at luxury properties broadened her portfolio and her understanding of global cuisines.
Now focused on passing down her knowledge to a younger generation of aspiring chefs, Yeo looks forward to this next chapter in her globe-trotting journey, as she brings her wealth of experience to the Hong Kong food scene. “I started off wanting to be as avant-garde as possible, but today it is more important to me to support sustainable food practises, pay tribute to the foragers, farmers and fishermen that prop up our food supply chain,” says Yeo. “I am most excited to work with the younger chefs and help them hone their skills, both culinarily and as leaders in the kitchen, so they can achieve their goals, be it something as lofty as MICHELIN stars or as simple as making them better cooks.”
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