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Chef Chat: Austin's Yolanda Diaz on Her "Latin Heat"

Pastry chef Yolanda Diaz whips up hypnotic desserts at downtown Austin’s Prohibition-style restaurant and cocktail bar Péché and its island-themed sister bar, Isla. An Austin native, her culinary education came from Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, but also from working in Washington, D.C., and traveling, working and eating her way through Europe — specifically, two and a half years working in France as well as traveling to Italy, Spain, and Belgium.

Diaz’s creations combine unexpected flavors and textures. A prime example is her vanilla lavender crème brulée with white chocolate macarons at Péché. Those at Isla are Caribbean-influenced and play with similarly elaborate combinations. She’s currently serving a pineapple upside-down cake with toasted coconut sorbet and rum dulce de leche with a Rum 151 flame, as well as spiced churros with chocolate pot de crème, curry mallow fluff, and toasted coconut.

We spoke with Diaz about her inspirations, background, and interests outside of work. Read on.

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