Latest Stories


Macarons, banana Nutella toast, ‘muscovado’ pudding–George Yang’s daughter makes her mark



After 15 years of working in San Francisco in computer systems, Stanford graduate Karen Yang finally came home to Manila to pursue her passion: baking.

“My dad found his passion for singing when he was 60,” said Yang. “That also inspired me to pursue my passion (for creating desserts). My family didn’t think I was serious about it but now they’re very supportive,” she adds.

We were in her month-old bakery in Serendra. Her parents and brother were at the next table and his brother’s wife was tending the store, still fashionably chic in the bakery’s uniform.

Yang didn’t dive into this business unprepared. While studying and working, she found time to fly off to Paris to learn the art of baking. She enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu where she got a Diplome de Patisserie, or a Pastry diploma. After finishing the basic cuisine and pastry course, she spent some time at Marriot Hotel on Champs Elysées assisting the pastry chef.

“Every time the chef shouted ‘Migniardises pour un! Migniardises pour deux!,’ that was my cue to hit the ground running. Aside from migniardises, I worked on plated desserts as well. This was probably the beginning of my love affair with patisserie.”


Impeccable creations


Yang also interned at Pierre Hermé patisserie in his commissary in Rue Vaugirard, working with the “macaroniers,” making macarons seven hours a day; and in his boutique on Rue Bonaparte, where she was in charge of making the “Ispahan,” one of Hermé’s signature desserts—two large macarons filled with rose buttercream, lychees and raspberries.

Back in San Francisco, she continued to do her homework, going through the recipes in her set of Williams-Sonoma cookbooks one by one. She further honed her skills through a catering business in San Francisco called Chez Karine Patisserie.

It’s no wonder that her creations at Chez Karine Bakery, now open at Serendra, are impeccable. Her macarons are soft, proof that they have not been on display for too long; not too sweet, with definite but not overpowering flavors, and so beautifully balanced.

“I didn’t like the macarons here so I had to make my own,” she admits.

Her signature item is turning out to be the pudding. They come in these adorable miniature bottles and in three flavors: vanilla, muscovado and chocolate. The vanilla pudding at first reminded me of a cross between crème brûlée and leche flan, but it is far lighter, like Thumbelina pirouetting on your tongue.

A must-experience is Honey Toast, a six-inch (or so) cube of bread that has several strips of bread inside. It is apparently a kind of birthday treat in Taiwan. The Banana Nutella toast, meanwhile, is like a childhood indulgence, with Nutella, slices of bananas, a chocolate macaron and ice cream on top. Yet it’s not nakakaumay at all.

Signature cake

My personal favorite is Ambroisie. This was actually the signature cake of Hidemi Sugino, a master patissier from Japan, whose mousse cakes (entremets), said Yang, are the best she has tasted.

CHEZ Karine façade NICO GARCIA

It reminded me of really good silk and made me think of Zhang Ziyi’s dance scene in “House of Flying Daggers”—graceful yet on point, colorful yet exquisitely streamlined. On the surface it looks like chocolate ganache, with a rich, velvety chocolate coat. But it is more appropriately categorized as an entremet because inside is a chocolate mousse.

The joy of it doesn’t end there. Alongside the mousse are pistachios and—surprise, surprise—strawberry jam! Of all the joyous, delightful cakes out there, this is The One.

More desserts await Chez Karine’s guests. Santol is in season now and the chef is playing with creating a santol dessert. But whatever Yang creates, I am willing to bet that, like her other creations, this will be well-balanced, fresh, not too sweet and absolutely delightful.

She is the daughter of McDonald’s tycoon George Yang, by the way. But this time, it’s the father’s turn to be proud of the daughter. His contribution here was simply to pass on the wisdom that, yes, above all, you must follow your passion.

Chez Karine is at Serendra, Bonifacio Global City; tel. 0917-3232845. Open daily 11 a.m.-

10 p.m., Friday-Saturday until 11 p.m.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: baking , Food , Karen Yang , Lifestyle , People

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  2. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  3. This is not just a farm
  4. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  5. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  6. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  9. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  10. The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  7. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan