• Source: Paul Crispin Quitoriano

    Angela Dimayuga

    Age: 29 Position: Executive Chef Restaurant: Mission Chinese Food, New York

    During a May meal at Danny Bowien's Mission Chinese Food in Manhattan, executive chef Angela Dimayuga brings out steamed cabbage with masala milk. The soft vegetable is nearly as white as the dairy, an evocation of winter. Corn kernels float about — a hopeful ode to the impending summer. And on top sit verdant corn shoots —  nod to spring — with all the complex flavor of the namesake vegetable, minus the intense sugars. The dish, served in a tiny portion, wouldn't be out of place at an expensive Japanese kaiseki restaurant, but instead, it's served on Manhattan's Lower East Side for $15. And it could easily qualify as a large format entree. This is Dimayuga's dish. This is why she's an Eater Young Gun.

    Dimayuga, from San Jose, California, is 29 years old. She has five siblings. Before I interview her in person she says the following to a few staffers nearby, in a joking, jovial voice: "You guys better be quiet or I'll beat you up." They are quiet (She definitely has five siblings). She is the second youngest child. She is a rare member of the millennial generation who uses her phone more for talking than for surfing the net. Her mother works for Intel and her father, who's retired, worked as a regional manager for McDonald's for 17 years.

    She is of Filipino descent. She does not speak Tagalog but understands a little bit when it's spoken to her. She serves her Filipina grandmother's egg and sausage-stuffed chicken at the restaurant. She charges for $75 for that dish. Go grandma.

    She wants a Michelin star for Mission Chinese Food

    Dimayuga says she knew she wanted to be a chef since childhood but, at the advice of her father, went to college rather than culinary school, studying hotel and restaurant management at Cal Poly and humanities at Strathclyde in Glasgow and San Francisco State. She didn't stage across Europe or Asia. She went on to work as a line cook at Vinegar Hill House in Brooklyn. And then she was hired by Danny Bowien to be a sous chef at the now-closed Mission Chinese on Orchard St., where she helped set up a system to monitor food costs. Where did she learn how to do food costs? "I kind of figured it out on my own with some line cooks I was working with."

    When Bowien re-opened Mission Chinese on East Broadway in 2014, he tapped Dimayuga to be executive chef.

    She's more interested in talking about her restaurant than she is herself. She says she wants a Michelin star for MCF. And she's not bashful about hawking Filipino-inspired food at a self-proclaimed Chinese restaurant. "I am so not a Chinese chef. This is beyond that. It's being able to have a fluid concept and then bring it in whatever direction that Danny and I want. We could use under this guise of Mission Chinese Food anything that's vaguely Asian."

    I am so not a Chinese chef. This is beyond that

    What's her leadership style? "Being really honest with everyone about what I want from them. Instead of something pissing me off in the kitchen and then me fixing it, I'm just very straightforward. Why did you do it like that? Don't ever do it that way again. I don't want to be an asshole. I don't want to be a dick. I want to be able to level with people in a way where they know they did something wrong based on my reaction, but the idea is that they'll never do it again. And how do you do that? By being respectful. If I'm "shaming" someone in the kitchen, it's because of something basic they didn't do."

    "You need to have a certain personality to get people to do physically demanding work," she says.

    On her nights off, Dimayuga says she likes East Coast Italian-American fare, a cuisine that's often pigeonholed into the same "cheap" corner as Chinese-America. She orders the lobster fra diavolo at Randazzo's and the eggplant Parm at Frankies. She says she really wants to go to Korea for her 30th birthday.

    At the tail end of my interview with Dimayuga, music starts blasting in the dining room and I'm having trouble hearing her. Is there any chance she might be able to lower it? No, she replies. She's not kidding.

    —Ryan Sutton

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