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Top Chef Top 10: Yigit Pura

The winner of Top Chef: Just Desserts Season 1 is opening a San Francisco pastry shop, Tout Sweet, later this year. Here, he shares the secret of his Zen-like calm and his fascination with Björk.
Top Chef Top 10: Yigit Pura - Mango-Basil Vacherin
© Kate Mathis

1. Mango-Basil Vacherin

"Vacherin can be boring—it's basically ice cream and meringue. But this version has French notes, Asian notes and my own notes".

Top Chef Top 10: Yigit Pura - The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Courtesy of Random House/Knopf

2. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

"When I first read Haruki Murakami's novel, I had just started a job at Daniel in New York City. I was working 17- to 18-hour days, and I still couldn't put it down. That's how good it is."

Top Chef Top 10: Yigit Pura - Istanbul
© Marie Hennechart

3. Istanbul

"If you do only one thing in the city, make your way along the Bosphorus. You'll see the Blue Mosque and skyscrapers, the Egyptian spice market, the bazaar; you'll see over 3,000 years of history."

4. Meryl Streep

"She is the most brilliant actress of our time, hands down. She's amazing in anything she does, from The Hours to The Devil Wears Prada."

5. Tout Sweet

"I'm going to take an approach like Ladurée's [the renowned Paris pastry shop] but a little more Americanized, with seasonally changing packaging."

6. Meditation

"I practice Buddhist meditation, but the Top Chef loft wasn't conducive to it. So I'd try to keep my eyes closed before the cameras got there."

7. Björk

"She's so inspiring. She stays true to herself. She uses rhythms and notes in her head to create music; it's a lot like the way I cook."

8. Yuzu

"It's my ingredient fixation. My local farmers' market has heirloom yuzu. I juice it, I make yuzu salt, I crystallize it, and I sous vide it, so I have it all year."

Top Chef Top 10: Yigit Pura - Chocolate Coupe
© Kate Mathis

9. Chocolate Coupe

"It hits all points of chocolate—sweet chocolate cream, bitter cocoa-nib mousse plus hazelnut crumble."

Top Chef Top 10: Yigit Pura - French Macarons
© Michael Turek

10. Macarons

"I tend to be a macaron fanatic. I bring all kinds of macarons to parties. My friends don't complain."

Published April 2011
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