Female Asian chefs to have on your radar
These Asian women are paving the way for aspiring BIPOC chefs
In this newsletter: Asian chefs to have on your radar. With your paid subscriptions we’ve supported important non-profits, including the Lilith Fund, World Central Kitchen, Refugio Animal Holbox, Womankind, Girls Write Now, Women for Women, Heart of Dinner, and Black Mamas Matter. If you’ve found your way here but are not yet subscribed, let me help you with that:
In the cut-throat culinary world, women still have a long way to go. Of the estimated 140,000+ chefs currently working in the United States, less than 30% are women, with less than half of all American chefs identifying as BIPOC. For this reason, it is crucial to celebrate the BIPOC women who manage to break through the glass ceiling and proudly claim their place in the pantheon of chefs. In cities like Houston, San Diego, and Seattle—these Asian chefs are both shaking up their local culinary scene and paving the way for other aspiring BIPOC chefs.
1. Tara Monsod of Animae in San Diego
Chef Tara is a powerhouse LGBTQ+ chef creating Filipino and Asian dishes that spur delight. San Diego County has the second-largest Filipino American population of any county in the nation and is only two hours outside of one of America’s most prominent culinary scenes. With that influence, Filipino food is ready to take off in San Diego, and one of the chefs leading the way is Tara Monsod. At Animae, Chef Tara’s flavors encompass her Filipino roots against the backdrop of an award-winning restaurant that has attracted Michelin Plate honors and an Eater Award for Best Reinvention.
2. Christine Ha of Xin Chào and The Blind Goat in Houston
Christine Ha is a Vietnamese-American chef from Houston who is best known for being the blind winner of “MasterChef” with Gordon Ramsay in 2012. Following her televised win, she authored the New York Times best-selling cookbook, Recipes from My Home Kitchen, and judged “MasterChef” Vietnam Season 3.
Ha opened her first restaurant, The Blind Goat in Houston’s Bravery Chef Hall in 2019. The Blind Goat received three stars from the Houston Chronicle and was named a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant in America. At her other restaurant, Ha brings a contemporary take on Vietnamese cuisine to Xin Chào, using locally sourced ingredients from Texas and the Gulf Coast.
3. Melissa Miranda of Musang in Seattle
Chef Melissa Miranda is the owner of Musang, a Filipino restaurant and community space that opened in Seattle in January 2020. Mel attended culinary school and worked in kitchens in Italy, before cooking for two years in New York City. After returning to Seattle, she saw the neighborhoods she had grown up in had changed. The small family businesses and community spaces she loved so much as a child had closed, and there were few places left for Filipino Americans to gather. Mel got to work developing Musang, which grew from a weekly pop-up to a brick-and-mortar restaurant celebrating Filipino cuisine.
Bridgerton. That’s all.
I am in the throes of moving to a new apartment, which means my time is currently monopolized by packing and unpacking boxes and firing off work emails in between. My only respite from an overwhelming to-do list and obsession with finding the perfect blue velvet bar stools to go with my new kitchen island has been watching Bridgerton. Yes, Bridgerton in all its Regency Era glory is back albeit without the heartthrob of the first season (oh, how I miss thee, Regé-Jean Page). Nonetheless, I binged the second season and actually enjoyed it. Don’t ask me how I managed to scrounge up the time to watch (God, help me) over 8 hours of this show. Let it go to show you that when I complain about not having enough time for things, I somehow always find time for the things I want to do.