Patricia Yeo was on her way to completing a biochemistry degree at Princeton University when she enrolled in a cooking class at the New York Restaurant School. Inspired, she turned in her lab coat for chef whites. And along the way, she met Bobby Flay. The two chefs had an instant rapport, and Yeo and Flay worked together at the Miracle Grill, Mesa Grill, and Bolo.
Yeo eventually moved to the West Coast to work at China Moon, run by celebrated cookbook author and Chinese scholar Barbara Tropp, who taught Yeo the basic philosophies behind true Asian cooking. Returning to Manhattan to open Bolo with Flay, Yeo found herself nostalgic for the flavors and aromas of Asian cuisine. She seized the opportunity to move back to California to open Hawthorne Lane under Chef Anne Gingrass, earning three stars from the San Francisco Chronicle for her inventive fusion cuisine.
More rave reviews would follow in 1999, when Yeo opened the eclectic Asian-inspired American restaurant, AZ, in Manhattan (followed by her cookbook, Cooking from A to Z). Next came Mediterranean Pazo and, in 2004, Sapa, where Yeo drew upon inspiration from her travels through Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. In October 2005 she published her second cookbook, Everyday Asian. In late 2007, Yeo moved to Southeast Asia to learn the food ways and culture of the region. By 2009, Yeo was sharing her Asian-fusion palate with Boston, first at Ginger Park, and later Om Restaurant & Lounge and Moksa in Central Square. And in 2012 she was sharing her talents with a national audience, on season four of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.”