Born in Hong Kong and raised in Singapore, Chris Yeo graduated from the Singapore Hotel and Catering School in 1968 and then went to work at the Mandarin Hotel for two years.
In 1970, he decided the industry was not for him, so he moved to London, England, to study hair styling, and work under Vidal Sassoon. Ten years later, he moved to San Francisco to open Yeo’s Hair Design in Haight-Ashbury. But Chris is a true Straits Chinese – Chinese who settled Singapore more than 200 years ago, and who are known for their distinct culture there. Good food is a top priority.
Realizing his dream of bringing true Singaporean food to San Francisco, he opened Straits Café in 1987, named for the Singapore Strait that separates Singapore from Indonesia, “The Strait of Malacca”. The restaurant became an instant success.
Later that year, Great Chefs showed up to tape him preparing a Chicken Satay appetizer and Barbecued Fish Wrapped in a Banana Leaf entrée, for their “Oriental Obsessions”, a PBS one hour special for the Chinese New Year. Ironically, Great Chef Alan Wong in Honolulu has influenced Chef Chris more, because of his Pan-Asian cooking.
In 1988 he opened a second location in Palo Alto, and in 2003, he opened Straits on Santana Row in San Jose. In 2005 he opened the Sino Restaurant in Palo Alto with the traditional Chinese cuisine Dim Sum. The Straits Restaurant Group now has restaurants in six different cities including Houston and Atlanta.