Growing up in Turkey, Yigit (rhymes with ‘sweet’) Pura was surrounded by the idea that the kitchen wasn’t a place for men. When his family moved to California, they encouraged him to attend business school, rather then pursue his culinary dreams. Determined, Yigit took a job at The Meetinghouse in San Francisco instead, where he worked for two years under chef and mentor Joanna Karlinsky. From The Meetinghouse he went on to work in several pastry kitchens in San Francisco including Postrio and Gary Danko.
Eager to explore the culinary world, Yigit moved to New York City in 2003 and landed in the famed kitchens of Le Cirque 2000 and the Four Seasons Hotel, working under Pastry Chef Luis Robledo-Richards. He moved on to Restaurant Daniel, working his way up to pastry sous chef before moving to Las Vegas to open Daniel Boulud Brasserie as executive pastry chef. Returning home to San Francisco, he joined Taste Catering & Event Planning as executive pastry chef in the spring of 2007.
Yigit then competed on the premiere season of Bravo’s “Top Chef Just Desserts,” and was crowned the winner and fan favorite. Since winning, Yigit has become an internationally recognized chef and eventually opened Tout Sweet Pâtisserie, a high-end pastry shop located in San Francisco’s Union Square, followed by a second location in Palo Alto’s Town and Country Village in 2014.
He has been featured on TV and in magazines and newspapers across the globe – including Food & Wine magazine, People magazine, Entertainment Weekly, “The Rachael Ray Show,” Time Out Istanbul, Vogue Turkey, BRAVO’s “Watch What Happens Live,” Sunset magazine, and OUT magazine – as well as on numerous national and international websites and blogs.
Bringing his expressive style, enthusiasm and passion for baking, Yigit has travelled extensively throughout the United States participating in various culinary events, cooking classes and speaking engagements. In 2011, Yigit was twice featured as the celebrity chef for President Obama was also featured as a Gala Chef at the 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards in New York and showcased at the world famous Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival. In 2011, he was a presenter at the 2011 GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco and was Celebrity Grand Marshal at the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade joining Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis and Chaz Bono.
Yigit continues to be an advocate for human rights and for those who are underserved, using his voice to raise money for non-profit organizations around the nation, including Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project, Meals On Wheels, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, Project Open Hand and ASPCA. He has received recognition and awards from the city of San Francisco, as well as the California Senate, for his efforts.
Yigit’s first cookbook with Chronicle Books – titled “Sweet Alchemy” – is available in-stores and online now. His goal with the book is to share his expertise of pastry-making in an exciting and accessible way.
As Global Gourmet Catering’s Executive Pastry Chef, Yigit enjoys challenging himself creatively to think outside the pastry box and feeding our clients in The Bay Area, one sweet bite at a time.