Well, I spent my birthday with him.
I got to meet Yigit. And ask him questions. And get a hug. And a picture. See…
And watch him bake. And talk about flour, and butter, and cream.
And it happened to be my birthday, as well. So I consider that spending my birthday with him. At least for an hour.
A professed sugar junkie, he admits that his kitchen is used for baking, not a whole lot of cooking. Citrus plays a big roll in his desserts, as does honey. He joked about being a beekeeper if he couldn’t be a pastry chef.
Yigit managed to field questions from a 150+ standing-room-only crowd, lining the parameter, trying to get a closer look. I think he handled it in great stride.
• Don’t be intimidated by Farmer’s Markets. Touch and smell all the odd looking, unfamiliar fruit and experiment with them.
• Fold together cake batter and avoid using a mixer, lending to a lighter, fluffier product.
• Make your own pectin by creating a jelly bag (combine citrus skin and membrane inside a pillow case, sealing the top, then boil in water with the fruit for 20 minutes. Cover and allow to cool. Squeeze out the liquid.)
Yigit is everything you’d expect. Warm, charming, humble, personable, with a smile that lights up his whole face and the room around him. And boy, can he keep a secret. From the time he won Top Chef Just Desserts until the time it aired and the public found out, 7 1/2 months had passed. He had to keep that news to himself for 7 1/2 months!
So here I am, lover of pie (as you all know), in the presence of an acclaimed pastry chef. I couldn’t let him escape without answering my standard question: “If you had a slice of cake and a slice of pie in front of you, and you could only choose one, which would it be?” He paused and answered….wait for it…
It’s okay, Yigit. I still love you.
Thank you to Malika at Be Everywhere Media for inviting me, Macy’s Culinary Council for hosting another great event, Charles from Charles Zukow Associates for setting up my meeting, and thank you Yigit for being wonderful.
And thank you, Mom! For treating me to lunch beforehand, being my date, and sharing my birthday with me. I love you.