Hong Kong-born and San Francisco-raised, Maggie Leung is turning out irresistible modern interpretations of classic desserts at the elegant Masa’s in San Francisco, a short stroll from the Campton Place Taj Hotel.
Leung, who became executive pastry chef there this summer, has given sophisticated spins to a chocolate walnut tart, made dainty and memorable with a fleur de sel flourish and a scoop of Earl Grey ice cream; strawberry pain perdu with a distinctive rose-geranium creme anglaise; and s’mores with housemade graham cracker ice cream, hot fudge, toasted marshmallows, candied hazelnuts and hazelnut powder between two chocolate cookies.
After studying molecular biology in college, she turned to the science of baking, enrolling at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After earning a degree in pastry art, she went on to work at Masse’s Pastries in Berkeley, where she focused on elaborate French pastries and intricate wedding cake designs.
Afterward, she joined the staff of Americano in San Francisco, before becoming executive pastry chef at the Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur (now the Tavern at Lark Creek), where her lemon-blueberry cheesecake parfait was featured in a story in Food & Wine magazine.