Rising Star Pastry Chef Belinda Leong of Bar Agricole - Biography
San Francisco, CA
2007 Rising Star Pastry Chef Belinda Leong, a San Francisco native, was interested in the culinary arts as a child but always regarded it as more of a hobby. Leong debated whether or not to focus her career in graphic arts or culinary arts, recognizing the many similarities between the two. In 1998, she decided that the best option was to pursue her interest in the culinary arts by getting an internship with Aqua. This internship gave Leong a real sense of the restaurant industry, as well as 8 months of fine dining experience under Pastry Chef Jason Gingold.
After Aqua, Leong immediately enrolled for formal training at San Francisco City College’s Hospitality and Restaurant Program. Shortly before graduating in 1999 she began an internship at the newly opened Gary Danko. There, Leong spent a little over a year slowly moving through the ranks and experimenting at different stations. As she learned the techniques of working in the pastry department, she realized that pastry was her calling. Mentor Gary Danko entrusted Leong with the creation of parts of the dessert menu and in 2001 formally recognized her as the Pastry Chef. In between, Leong refined her skills with work experience at Daniel, Aureole, Fauchon, and Citrella in New York.
She eventually moved on to head the pastry program at Manresa and then, after a period of making the pastries for Bar Agricole part-time, she moved there permanently.