As the owner of Manhattan bakery Panade, Yvette Ho spends her day whipping up complicated desserts (this summer: ginger cream puffs, not to mention cakes and treats starring Qream™). But when she turns her focus to other things, the former schoolteacher has more simple tastes (even her favorite Qream flavor, peach, wins out because of it's "subtlety"). Here, a few of the pastry chef's favorite things.
What made you become a pastry chef?
I was a teacher for 10 years, even though it was meant to be my safety net. Then one day I found a space for rent on Craigslist – I'd always loved baking and just on a fluke went to look at it. The timing felt right and I dove into it. And now I get to do what I've always liked as a hobby as my life.
Obvious question, but do you have a sweet tooth?
If you ask my dentist, yes. I have an awful sweet tooth, my whole family does. I was even always in charge of desserts for family gatherings.
What's your favorite dessert?
I experiment a lot in what I make for the shop, but nothing beats something simple like a good brownie.
Perfect girls' night out?
Starting off with a great meal, some nice wine, a small, quiet place with a good vibe and good music in the background—with a good dessert menu, of course. Those nights are few and far between now, because I'm a workaholic. But we still have them.
Favorite city to shop in?
Hong Kong. It’s recreation there, so shops are open to midnight or 1am. In New York people sit in bars or clubs, but in Hong Kong, they are shopping throughout the night.
Favorite way to treat yourself?
A massage and a day at the spa.
Best vacation ever?
No city beats New York, but shortly after college I spent a month traveling around Spain. It’s such a eating and food culture and a month is the perfect amount of time to get to know a place.
Favorite song to party to?
I'm a huge reggae fan. Especially anything Sean Paul.
Hmmm, I don't think I have one role model. I keep my friends and family close and find at least one admirable quality in each of them.
Your idea of success?
I was a good speller in school, but the one word that always gave me difficulty was "success." Success is when you've made some sort of impact or connection, no matter how small, in someone else's life. Success is when you've worked your tail off for something you believe in, whether it's washing windows or running a Fortune 500 company.