It’s been a little over a year since San Francisco resident Yigit Pura won the first season of Bravo reality competition series, Top Chef: Just Desserts and was also voted fan favorite by the viewers. Since that television exposure Pura has been wearing many hats. While holding down his day job as Executive Pastry Chef with Taste Catering & Event Planning, he also signed on as a Bravo website blogger when the second season of Just Desserts aired in late summer. Plus, he appeared regularly at LGBT-related benefits and fundraisers, and he’s starred in a series of Cooking Channel videos with fellow gay pastry chef Zac Young.
Now, thankfully for us, he is shedding his shirt and being doused in rainbow sprinkles for a 2012 calendar benefiting Meals On Wheels.
To talk about the calendar and to see if there’s more television in his future, Pura put the oven on low to take a break and talk with AfterElton.com.
Chefs Of The Bay Area 2012 Calendar Cover Model Yigit Pura
AfterElton.com: The Chefs Of The Bay Area calendar is so great. How did you get involved?
Yigit Pura: Meals and Wheels in San Francisco, the company I work for right now, Taste, we’re actually one of the biggest producers of their annual benefit. Each year we get about 950 people and we get some of the Top Chef people in California to come cook. Last year, we raised 1.4 million dollars in one night, so that was pretty incredible. I’ve been involved with them for about four years so when they wanted to do this [calendar] and wanted me in it I definitely jumped at the opportunity.
AE: Whose idea was it to cover you in candy sprinkles?
YP: That was the creative director of the photo shoot, but I thought it was funny. The only thing is that during that photo shoot is I was literally plastered with rainbow sprinkles and they kept throwing handfuls of sprinkles at me as I was jumping up in the air. I must’ve swallowed five pounds of sprinkles and right after that I had to go to my dentist, who was a little appalled! There’s a bit of irony in that.
AE: Is this the first time you’ve had candy put all over your body?
YP: [pause] On a professional basis, yes.
AE: I saw your tweet with the picture of the cranberry upside down cake you made for a friend. It looked amazing.
YP: I did that for my friend’s party yesterday. I don’t usually bake out of my own kitchen because I have a professional kitchen [at work] so I’m a little spoiled when it comes to everything else, but I sometimes forget how kind of cathartic and meditative it is when I cook in my own kitchen. It was fun.
Despite what Pura says, he doesn’t seem to be over-doing it on the sugar, right?
AE: When you get invited to parties or events, do people expect you to bake something or is that what you like to do anyway?
YP: I don’t know if it’s expected, but I have really great friends and family who know that I am overworked and usually pretty stressed so they cook me a lot of dinners and take care of me. So bringing dessert is the least I can do.
AE: I was looking at the other pictures in the calendar and there’s something really sexy about people who cook. Why do you think chefs are sexy?
YP: I think food is something that is very universal no matter where in the world you’re from, or your culture or what your religious background is. Everyone loves eating and people are usually brought together with food. I guess when you combine that with people who love to cook, then it can become sexy. But I’ve seen some very unsexy chefs, too!
AE: Is it safe to say that you don’t eat everything you bake because, come on, you look pretty fit and trim.
YP: Bless your heart, but I eat probably about 80% of sugar in my diet. It’s something that I actually love, but every time I go to my doctor my levels are through the roof. So yes, I eat a lot of sugar. Lately I’ve been on an ice cream binge.