One of the best – if not THE best pastry shop in San Francisco these days is B. Patisserie run by Belinda Leong and Michel Suas. I met Belinda several years ago in the kitchen at Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos. She was cheery yet focused. She handed me a chocolate treat filled with extra virgin olive oil. She’d just made it and the little candy was divine, sensuous and exploded with a riot of flavor.
I was with my friend Pim who had a question for Belinda about French canele, a tricky little pastry to bake. Belinda whipped out a small notebook and read off notes from her past work at places like Pierre Herme in Paris. I immediately liked her calm resolution and willingness to share.
We didn’t meet again until about a month ago at a restaurant opening and soon after, I visited Belinda’s stylish bakery. It was packed on a Saturday afternoon, with customers ranging from local chef Mourad Lahlou and his crew of Aziza to well-heeled San Franciscans to humbly dressed Chinese ladies. They were at B. Patisserie for Belinda’s pastries. I went with pastry chef Pichet Ong, who was in town from New York and despite being at the bakery the day before, wanted to revisit. That’s always a good sign.