Jul 13, 2021
For as far back as she could remember, growing up in San Jose, California, Angela Dimayuga wanted to be a chef. The fifth of six children of Filipino parents who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s, she was convinced by her father, a retired McDonald’s regional manager (who invented the Extra Value Meal), to go to college instead of culinary school. She gamely complied before moving to Brooklyn to begin her second education as a line chef at Vinegar Hill House under chef Jean Adamson. After five years she would receive a career-changing phone call from Danny Bowien; he wanted her to help open the first New York City iteration of his San Francisco restaurant, Mission Chinese Food.
Pairing her passion for design, aesthetics and presentation along with her talent for cooking, Dimayuga would ultimately help create the look and feel of NYC’s Mission Chinese Food, with a hand in everything from menu design to lighting to interiors, creating a portal to another place and time. She would leave Mission Chinese in 2017, under a cloud of controversy, despite having won an array of accolades: The New York Times awarded MCF with two stars and named it “Restaurant of the Year” in 2012; in 2015, she was named “Best Chef” by New York Magazine; The James Beard Foundation named her a “rising star chef” in 2016.
In 2018 she began a stint as corporate-level creative director of food and culture at Standard Hotels, where she helped launch No Bar, a queer, inclusive nightlife space.
The pandemic afforded her time at home alone to work on her forthcoming cookbook, “Filipinx: Heritage Recipes from the Diaspora,” out in October. She says she is carving out a space for representation for people like her, who feel solidarity with the Latinx and queer communities. The book will be part biography and part cookbook, offering 100 personal, yet accessible recipes—like the ones she’s popularized in her writing for Bon Appétit, Vice and The New York Times Cooking.
This entry has been updated to reflect information that was brought to our attention after publication.