San Francisco’s food artistry will be on display this Sunday, March 8, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. during a pop-up at Sweet Mue on 22nd and Guerrero in the Mission District. Pastry chef Steven Cheung’s French pastries, desserts, and handcrafted confections with a modern twist — as featured on his Instagram account _sp00ns_– will be for sale until they are sold out.
These types of events are all the rage in this culinary gem of a city. Since we love food, especially the artistically delightful type Cheung creates, we decided to ask him more about this event. Read on.
EffinArtist: Forgive me but I missed when pop up stores and flash mobs became a real thing. Thank goodness flash mobs are gone, but pop ups stayed, because they seem pretty cool. Tell me your event?
Steven Cheung: Of course I can Scot! So this Sunday on March 8th, I am hoping to showcase some of my favorite creations all while getting a feel for running my own business. The pop-up model that I chose to use is allowing me to experiment with my business structure and allow a lot more fun to take place for me and those who stop by to indulge in my sweets. I really hope to provide people with one last weekend thrill before having to go back to business as usual on Monday.
EA: So is Sweet Mue you or the store that exists that you are borrowing? Forgive my confusion. I’m brain challenged.
SC: Sweet Mue is the store front I’m using. I am not really borrowing the store front, but instead I had the owner, who is a long time friend of mine, sell my pastries instead of her own. In addition to that, I am also going to be there to help run the store front alongside my supporting friends.
EA: From a business standpoint I assume this is a way to launch yourself and build the brand. Is your own shop the goal?
SC: I do hope to own my very own bakery here in San Francisco one day, but that may be a bit far off into the future. As of right now, I work as a pastry chef at Stanford for the Schwab executive service. At Stanford I am often creating intricate pastries for clients like Netflix along with the deans of both the school and the business school. Between the planning of the desert menu, training the new staff I am hiring and baking full time, there really is no time to invest in a full-time bakery. Instead, I thought that I would revitalize my baking passion by offering my pastries to the public through my pop-up and hey, if they remember me or my confections it wouldn’t hurt to gain more fans and followers.
EA. Where did you learn your craft?
SC: I partook in the culinary arts and hospitality program at the Community College of San Francisco attaining my associate’s degree there, and afterward I had gone on to attain a certificate in professional patisserie and bakery management from the Hong Kong Culinary Academy. Since then and in between the schools, I have learned many different skills by working and apprenticing under other pastry chefs around the bay area.
EA. What’s your “thing.” I know you say “French pastries, desserts, and handcrafted confections with a modern twist” but what is the one thing I have to try when I come?
SC: I strive to be well-rounded in all pastry arts from breads to chocolate to classic French pasteries but if I really have to pick just one thing, I would say you have to try my Kouignettes. The Kouignettes are my absolute favorite, although not the easiest to make. Each batch is hand rolled meaning I do not use machinery for the shaping of each layer. The outer layer is a made with a special blend of sugar which gives it an amazing crunchy and carmalized texture. When you bite into it you can taste and see each layer. This week, I am actually featuring an apple with cream cheese kouignette. You should definitely pick one of those up while you are here.
EA: Consider it done. Sounds Effin amazing. Where can people learn more about you, the event, etc.?
SC: Anyone can feel free to contact me at email@example.com or follow me on instagram @_spOOns_
EA: What’s the one thing about you that I didn’t ask but I should have?
SC: I think the one question you should have asked is “Why come to your pop-up and not some other bakery?” (EA: Yeah, you’re right. Good question.) Being in the mission, there are so many options for a sweet bite or a quaint coffee shop to satisfy your occasional need to spoil yourself with treats or diet cop-outs. I encourage everyone to stop by my pop-up if you want to experience a memorable moment with food. I try to help people understand the roles of texture, the balance of sweet and savory, along with the ideas of light flavors that can work together to achieve delightful bites.There are two ways to eat my pastries, eating them for the sake of eating or spoiling yourself by savoring each bite and allowing the sensations to take over.
Yes, my weight watching effort continues as I beat back the infernal not-so-lovely love handles (Thank God the Bride is the only one I have to impress and she has permanent beer goggles when it comes to me despite our sobriety) BUT, yes, indeed… you can count on me being at Sweet Mue Sunday, trying that Kouignette as recommended (can’t say it but you can bet I can smash it!) and likely another item or two. Join us and celebrate this budding San Francisco original pastry artist. If you go, come back and post your comments here!