by Sybil PrattFebruary, 2003
Patricia Yeo is a wow
Young, smart, savvy, Patricia Yeo is executive chef at AZ, a three-star New York restaurant that sparkles in an already luminous scene. She grew up in Kuala Lumpur, a Southeast Asian city where fusion, food and otherwise, is the norm, then learned to cook in New York and San Francisco. So, a profusion of fusion is this chef's milieu. The food she creates is, in her own words, "not quite Asian and not quite American, occasionally Indian and even slightly Mediterranean." And, having eaten at AZ and now cooked from the recipes in Cooking From A To Z, written with Julia Moskin, and with a foreword by big, bold Bobby Flay, I can assure you that it's all quite wonderful. Patricia's dishes are big-flavored; they follow the basic outlines of American food but have the zingy, bright flavors of Asia whether they're soups, salads, appetizers, main courses or desserts. Luscious Lemongrass Gravelax with Rice Blini takes this Scandinavian classic to the near-side of Nirvana, and the same goes for Smoked Chicken Salad with Hazelnuts, Mango and Parsley Pesto, Thai Bouillabaisse, Pork with Forty Cloves of Garlic, Candied Ginger Shortbread and so many more. Big flavor doesn't mean complex prep instructions directions are straightforward and easy to follow. Few exotic, hard-to-find ingredients are called for, and the headnotes let you in on origins and how some of the wow of Yeo is created.