Asia Best's Pastry Chef Award 2022, sponsored by Valrhona
Asia's Best Pastry Chef 2022 goes to Maira Yeo, Pastry Cheffe of Cloudstreet, in Singapore
Food and cooking have always been a part of Chef Maira Yeo’s life. From a tender age of six, Maira has been helping at her parents’ hawker stall in Ang Mo Kio. It is this valuable experience that allowed Maira to witness her parents’ passion for food and understand the hard work and long hours involved in the food and beverage industry. During her secondary school days, Maira was inspired by a cooking show that drew parallels between the basics of pastry and lessons in life. From then on, her interest in pastry grew exponentially and she decided to enrol herself into the Culinary and Catering Management course in Temasek Polytechnic.
After graduating with a Diploma, Chef Maira worked at Meta (one Michelin star) for 4 years before deciding to expand her horizons by staging at different restaurants and patisseries across New York City, USA; Montreal, Canada, as well as Oslo, Norway. Notable names include Aska (two Michelin stars) in New York, USA and Patrice Patisserie in Montreal, Canada.
Chef Maira returned to Singapore in 2020 due to the pandemic and looked for temporary work as she had no plans to permanently move back to Singapore at that juncture. However, what started off as a temporary arrangement to spruce up Cloudstreet's pastry offerings grew into something bigger when discussions were made about the opening of the dessert lounge on the second floor. That was when chef Maira decided to accept the role of Pastry Chef and work at Cloudstreet full-time.
Armed with her exceptional ability of pairing flavours and her expertise and experiences from overseas kitchens, chef Maira looks forward to the challenges this role brings. She also enjoys the satisfaction of bringing her unique dessert creations to life and believes in continuing to offer innovative and interesting flavour combinations to Cloudstreet's guests.
I believe in keeping an open mind when creating desserts and not categorising ingredients as sweet or savoury. Instead, I allow the ingredients to inspire me and create around showcasing certain distinctive aspects of the ingredients. – Pastry Chef Maira Yeo
Images courtesy of Cloudstreet
We always and deeply value ethical and human sides of individual. It was such an humbling honour to give the Award to Cheffe Maira Yeo, knowing that earlier during the pandemic, upon returning to Singapore, she got the idea to make baked goods to sell for charity while serving out her Stay-HomeNotice (SHN). Cheffe Yeo was then shaking local dessert lovers scene with a small range of artisanal cookies and cakes that she sold through Instagram. Most of the money she made went to Covid-19-related causes such as migrant worker support programmes and other groups in need.
The response to her Crackly Chocolate Brownie and Pecan Miso Brown Butter cookies, Olive Oil Lemon Loaf and Financiers has been overwhelming, although she reckons the charity element has been the main driver. But that hasn’t stopped the flood of praise her bakes are getting on social media. She caped her orders at 80 cookies a day because of her kitchen size, with the bestseller being the Crackly Chocolate Brownie aka CCB cookies. “Some of the recipes are adapted and tweaked, and some are adapted from places I have staged at, like the buckwheat financier from Patisserie Patrice.” (source: Business Times SG)
Image courtesy of Cheffe Maira Yeo