Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Celebrity SF gay pastry chef, international Asian singers shine at SF federal Pride event

Local celebrity gay pastry chef Yigit Pura (seen at right) and international Asian singers Divo Bayer and Miriam Pantig added some star power to this year’s Pride event hosted by several federal law enforcement agencies.

This morning’s celebration at the Philip Burton Federal Building was the second year the San Francisco Multi-Agency LGBT Pride Committee hosted an event in honor of Pride Month.

Agencies taking part included the Department of Justice; U.S. Pretrial Services; Drug Enforcement Administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the General Services Administration.

The 30-year-old Pura, who is from a Turkish family and grew up in Novato north of the city, dazzled the 75 people in attendance when he went off script and told some racy jokes, let slip a swear word, and twice noted that he is single.

“People should never put a pastry chef in front of a large group of people. There are kitchen walls for a reason,” said the cherubic-faced Pura, who is a celebratory Grand Marshal in this year’s Pride parade and will be joined by his lesbian older sister Sunday. “I walked in to the federal building as a single, gay man and I was not frisked once. I am very disappointed.”

Pura is the executive pastry chef for Taste Catering and Event Planning and is opening his own patisserie in Union Square. He became an international sensation last year when he appeared on and won Bravo’s Top Chef Just Desserts.

He said he is humbled to be honored by the local Pride committee and will be living out a boyhood dream “of wearing a tiara. Eat your heart out mom!”

On a more serious note, Pura discussed how he was called a “faggot” growing up and how his high school was a “racist, conservative” environment. One classmate who came out was beaten so severely he was in a coma for two days, said Pura, and his school principal blamed the students’ parents for the attack.

Having recently spoken at a summit for LGBT Bay Area youth, Pura said he was astonished to see pro-gay posters on the walls of the host high school and see so many youth not only out but proud to be queer.

“It gives me great hope for the LGBT movement,” said Pura, who receives hundreds of Facebook messages from LGBT youth thanking him for being a role model.

He recounted how a woman came up to him at the gym to tell him she and her husband knew their son was gay. But he didn’t have the courage to come out until watching Yura compete on the cooking show.

The woman told Yura that her son, “when you won, he turned to us and said, ‘I am gay. Will you please love me?'” For his part, Yura said, “There really is a dialogue to be had here. Even if you talk to just one person.”

Philippines singing sensation Divo Bayer (seen at left) told Pura that he was a fan after seeing him on the Bravo show. Despite the lackluster acoustics from performing in a ceremonial courtroom, Bayer knocked out two songs – an opera piece and Eric Clapton’s “Change the World.”

“Actually, it is my secoond time,” singing in a courtroom, said Bayer, who will be performing at 4 p.m. on the API Stage at Pride Sunday.

Miriam Pantig (at right) told the audience that the most important letter in her name is the “g.”

“Don’t ever remove the g,” she joked before singing a rendition of “Over the Rainbow.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 24, 2011 @ 4:31 pm PST
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