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Diane Yang of Merchant Shares Early Planning For Pastry

After making her name with elegant plates with powerful flavors at La Belle Vie, Diane Yang was the much-lauded pastry chef at La Belle Vie before leaving to join the opening team of Merchant.

Diane Yang, pastry chef at Merchant
Diane Yang, pastry chef at Merchant
Photo courtesy Merchant

Yang grew up on her parent's farm in Steven's Point, Wisconsin with no aspirations to lead the dessert team inside a four star restaurant. While she's petite in person, she's a force of personality and talent. Funny, acerbic, warm and a natural leader in the kitchen, she worked her way up from intern to head pastry chef in a matter of years. In addition to the desserts at La Belle Vie that brought her acclaim and won fans from all over the world, she also created the pastry menu for the critically acclaimed Heyday in Uptown.

As she settles into her new role inside Gavin Kaysen's quickly-coming-together North Loop restaurant, she's shifted her gaze away from the high art plates of recent memory and refocusing on desserts made from the home and the heart.

As Kaysen has said, Merchant is focused on familial elements. While it is the most highly anticipated restaurant in Minneapolis memory, it will not be fine dining. Instead, the restaurant strives to serve a neighborhood role, with dishes that feed the stomach and the soul.

Yang shared an early sketch of her dessert plans. A long, skinny torte, pipped with mont blanc to order. She specifies which pastry tip to use, and makes note of chestnut puree. Alongside the torte will come a hit of acid from a mandarin orange sorbet.

Elements listed at the top of the page include a caramel gel, pink apple chips, coconut sorbet and crisp caramel crunch. A tiny peek behind the curtain inside the creative mind creating delicious confection.

Merchant remains on track to open in November.