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?
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?
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?
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?
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.