Discovering Atlanta

By Sean Kenniff

By

Sean Kenniff
Yee's Chestnut Crepe Cake
Yee's Chestnut Crepe Cake

“New York City has a way of blinding you from what’s happening in the rest of the country,” says the ex-New Yorker and new Atlantan Jen Yee. It’s barely been five months since Yee arrived in town, but she’s settling into her role as executive pastry chef of Linton Hopkins’ Resurgens Hospitality Group and into the Southern pantry.
 
Yee is supervising multiple properties in her new role, and her immediate goal is simply to “ace it.” She was lured to Atlanta by fellow ex-New Yorker and Resurgens Culinary Director, Damon Wise, who made his Atlanta debut at Craft. Meeting with Hopkins spurred her on: “Linton’s passion and dedication to his hometown, and his encyclopedic knowledge of culinary history in the South made me want to be a part of his tribe.” 

Since joining the tribe, this pastry veteran has been energized by the discoveries she’s made. “I never knew there was an island off the coast of Georgia called Sapelo! So many wonderful things grow there, one of which is purple ribbon sugar cane,” says Yee. “The flavor is indescribable. It’s nutty, umami, molasses-y, maple-y, mellow, complex without too much sweetness. To anyone reading this, please get yourself a bottle!” Rifling around the Restaurant Eugene walk-in, she also found fresh, fragrant Anson Mills chestnut fl our and Georgia-grown apples. From those ingredients, along with the purple ribbon sugar cane syrup, Yee developed a stunning chestnut crepe cake.

“Move to Atlanta for the opportunity to really express yourself. The city is full of transplants, and many of them have a palate for the new, the exotic, the authentic,” encourages Yee. “Atlanta’s bakery and pastry scene has room for growth, which I really hope to be a part of.” Yee was sad to leave her friends and the New York pastry community but happy to fuggedabout ruthless hours, tiny apartments, sky scraping rents, slushy gray winters, and a sapped subway system. “It was time for me to grow up and think about my mental health and my future.”

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