Yigit Pura Talks About His Sweet Life
By Tamara Palmer
October 16, 2013
Photo by: Frankie Frankeny
Yigit Pura has firmly established himself as a pastry luminary, first through his win of the first season of Top Chef Just Desserts and now through his Tout Sweet Patisserie. He's got a lot more in the works, too, including a book (Sweet Alchemy), expansion plans for Tout Sweet and even a possible reality show. After Pura recently Tweeted that he'd be baring all for the cover of Sweet Alchemy, it seemed like a sweet time to catch up with this sugar champion.
Zagat: So we heard that you just got naked for your book cover?
Yigit Pura: [laughs] Well, that was a joke!
Zagat: Aww, well, never mind this interview! Just kidding. But you do have a book coming soon?
YP: Yeah, it's coming out next March. My photographer did some fun photos with me and we were going over her short list and there were some ones that got some crazy attention. I like having fun with people. Why not?
Zagat: You work in sugar; if you're not having fun, you're doing the wrong thing.
YP: That's actually what I say to myself. I totally agree.
Zagat: So what's the book going to be like?
YP: It's a culmination of my culinary journey, I suppose you could say. I come from a Turkish background but have definitely been trained by very strict four-star French pastry chefs. But one thing that I've really liked since doing television etc. over the last three or four years is to be able to relate to people. There's the kind of pastry that really high-end professionals can make and then there's the really simple stuff that home bakers can make. But I want to cross that boundary and encourage people to make really complex desserts. I took 15 of my favorite composed recipes and then I broke those down into really simple recipes. So then people basically learn how to harness each ingredient in a very simple way and then after you've made about 50 or 60 of these recipes you can make really elaborate, complex plated desserts or cakes. I think it's cool. There's humor and personal stories and a little bit of science and technique.
Zagat: You've hinted that you may be soon expanding Tout Sweet?
YP: I would really like to have more of a local neighborhood storefront within San Francisco. My location in [Macy's] Union Square is really fantastic and I think we get to reach a really wide audience. But I would like to have the other side of the coin as well and see us in a more local neighborhood in San Francisco and then into the South Bay and possibly New York or Chicago.
Zagat: Is it a possibility to continue to work with Macy's as you expand out of state?
YP: Absolutely, and they're a fantastic partner. The beautiful thing is that people have found that we're really unique as a brand and as an experience so I should say there have been many interested parties. Also, all our confections and our French macarons have just started shipping nationally too, so that's really exciting. And for the holidays we're doing a series of macaron and confection boxes. We get to spread the joy across the United States!
Zagat: You appeared on Millionaire Matchmaker looking for love earlier this year. Are you interested in doing more reality television?
YP: We're actually developing a show of my own, hopefully for next year.
Zagat: What's the show going to look like?
YP: Well, maybe you'll see on television next year.
Zagat: Well, will there be an instructional element to it? Will you be showing people how to make things?
YP: What I do is, I'm a professional pastry chef and I really like connecting with people, so there would be an element of that. Also, the core of what I really like to do is that I realize that I came here as an immigrant and my life has been tremendously blessed. So I do like to give a lot of that back and from a philanthropy and nonprofit point of view, there is a lot that I'd like to speak to there on that front.