Interview with New York City Rising Star Chef Angela Dimayuga of Mission Chinese

by Antoinette Bruno
February 2017

Antoinette Bruno: How did you get your start?
Angela Dimayuga:
I wanted to be a chef since I was a kid. In high school, I worked in the cafeteria as part of a work scholarship. I also worked restaurant jobs and found them really fun.
I considered going to culinary school but studied humanities. 

I moved to New York ten years ago and my first professional job was as a baker at a small cafe private chef woman who was really inspring. I moved to Vinegar Hill House, which was very formative working for chef Jean Adamson. I started when they were opening and saw how to start a business and kitchen from scratch with minimal equipment.

AB: Who's your mentor?
AD:
Jean Adamson. It was exciting to work for her as she was opening her own business; I watched and supported her. She always had her own goal to open her own business and to watch her do that was inspiring.

AB: What's the biggest challenge facing your restaurant?
AD:
I didn’t know what I was signing up for when I met Danny [Bowien], I never went to Mission [Chinese Food] in San Francisco. I never had Szechuan food which was the base of his menu. It was a challenge not knowing what I was getting involved in; it wasn't a national brand when I started. They’re constantly pushing to be more creative and progressive in their own way, and I was finding out what that is.

AB: What's your five year plan?
AD:
I want to continue collaborating, that part of the restaurant industry is big for me. I want to open something else, write a cookbook or two, explore a lot more of my Filipino heritage with food. 

AB: Has it been tough trying to introduce people to Filipino flavors?
AD:
Filipino food has challenging flavors and ingredients confusing for the American palate that hasn’t been around different cuisines. Filipino food can be hard to understand from a flavor perspective and it’s been underserved in restaurants.