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Best Pastry Chef Houston 2013 - Chris Leung

"Chris Leung is a freak genius," says L.J. Wiley, one of Leung's executive chefs from back in the day, before Leung went to Tomball to work with Randy Rucker at Bootsie's, before he took on a position as pastry chef to Azuma and Kata Robata, and before he decided to open his own ice cream shop. Though Leung isn't making pastry on a day-to-day basis these days, instead spending time making ice cream for his soon-to-open storefront in Rice Village, the legacy of his creations lives on at Kata Robata and Azuma in items like his deconstructed strawberry shortcake with coriander ice cream, lychee and sesame; his toasted rice crème brûlée; or his warm pear cake with vanilla bean yogurt ice cream, cream cheese, buckwheat and almond. It's his ability to combine disparate ingredients on the fly, creating specially composed sweet somethings out of traditionally non-dessert ingredients like hay or buckwheat, that makes this guy a pastry rock star. His ice creams at Cloud10 Creamery are pretty dang delicious, too.

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