Jennifer Yee can see the forest for the trees. This pastry chef has managed large-scale production of all things pastry, but still pays microscopic attention to the details. No doubt her Fine Arts degree in Interior Architecture from San Jose State University allows Yee to appreciate the scale of any successful design. And the Patisserie Diploma from London’s Le Cordon Bleu that Yee earned with honors allows her to apply that sensibility to dessert, a forum where the large and small scale flavors, textures, and portion sizes are counterpoised in a constant game of balance and boundary-pushing.
Yee’s professional experience is divided between England and the Unites States. She earned her pastry degree under the auspices of the Queen, but had her first professional experience in a San Francisco kitchen. Her career path took her back to England, to Gordon Ramsay at The Connaught in London, where she was appointed to garnishing daily afternoon tea—a lesson in the delicacy and ceremoniousness of dessert if ever there was one. 2004 saw her as pastry supervisor at Yauatcha, working directly under Stephanie Sucheta and co-managing a team of 10 in the production and finishing over 400 items for the patisserie showcase.
Returning to the States in 2006, Yee continued to hone her dessert and pastry repertoire under David Carmichael at Gilt, where the young chef was in charge of the restaurant’s chocolate program. Later, at Aureole, the well-traveled chef worked her years of experience into all the elements—large and small—of her own dessert menu. Like a kid in a really fancy, well-stocked candy store, at Aureole Yee played with combinations, juxtaposing opposites of texture, temperature and flavor—as in her chilled melon soup with salty dehydrated black olives, a lesson in the fine architectural balance of a great dessert. In June 2011 she took a position at The Breslin as Pastry Chef, and later joined SHO Shaun Hergatt, which she left in 2012.