Angela Dimayuga, Executive Chef, Mission Chinese


“I grew up in California, but I’ve been living in New York for almost 10 years now—I moved here after college. Initially I was going to school for Hotel and Restaurant Management, but I think I knew I would end up cooking in some capacity. I wanted to approach culinary arts from a more of a creative standpoint than I thought I would be able to if I went to culinary school. I ended up graduating with a degree in General Humanities, which allowed me to take a lot of interdisciplinary courses. Food, for me, was an inherent thing that I couldn’t help but love. As a kid I wanted to be a chef. Now I’m doing it and I’m doing it in a way that I would never imagine.

When I started cooking after school, I was pretty casual about it. I was like, ‘You know, I’m just going to stop into this little neighborhood spot and see if this woman who owns it will teach me some stuff.’ She said that she was down and I learned how to make coffee and bake—I became like an assistant manager, basically. She would let me play around with whatever and that was really fun for me.

I knew that I eventually wanted to explore working in a busy professional kitchen, so I started looking to meet someone who would teach me again. That’s how I met Jean Adamson, who had worked at a lot of Keith McNally restaurants, Balthazar and Pastis. She saved up money to open this small restaurant in Dumbo called Vinegar Hill House and we just hit it off. I worked there for three years, learning as much as I could from her. Then I met Danny Bowien who was the owner of Mission Chinese in San Francisco—he wanted so badly to open a restaurant in New York. He decided to hire me for the job. Neither of us had ever opened a restaurant from the ground up, but we figured out how to do it together. I’ve been working for Mission Chinese for almost 4 years, and we’ve opened three restaurants together since. We are really pushing to challenge ourselves and do more. We don’t know what that means, but we want to continue working together, which is really cool.

My skin type is pretty non-problematic, except that I need to exfoliate. I’m always in front of grease, so that’s what I’m taking care of, basically. My cleanser is Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, which is rice-based and not too harsh. There’s a lot of stuff going on in it, but it makes my skin feel really smooth and refreshed. If I need something stronger, I like the Aesop Purifying Exfoliant Facial Paste, but it's too abrasive to use every day.

This Gypsy Rose Toner by Poppy & Someday is also something I'm obsessed with. It’s just a rose hydrosol, but I like the texture of this one in particular. It felt more refreshing compared to other ones—softer. I bring this around at work and mist people. I’m sure they love to have a lady chef that just sprays them with rose all the time!

When I get a little dry, I’ve started using this product called Everyday Oil everywhere. It’s made by this woman Emma who made the blend for herself, and you can use it for anything! I use it on my hair, my hands, everything. What I really like about it is the smell—it’s kind of unisex.

I’ve been using eyeliner since I was a kid. People always comment on the eyeliner that I use because I do it so well, but it’s because I’ve been doing it since I was in high school. In all the kitchens I’ve worked in, I’ve always used eyeliner because you don’t really need to reapply it and I feel finished with it on, but not made-up. I can go from work to going out and feeling like I have my look. It’s really minimal, just lipstick and eyeliner and a little bit of concealer.

The blue liner I wear came from a lot of experimenting with bright colors—it just looked really good and became a staple for me. I’m obsessed with Lancôme Artliner in Saphir, but I also use the Sephora Colorful Waterproof Eyeliner in Pool Party [ed note: discontinued], too, because I run through them so quickly. They are kind of the same shade.

On the rest of my face, I use the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer or Smashbox BB Cream—I like how light they are. Then I like the Laura Mercier High Coverage for under-eyes. It’s really intense so I only do a tiny bit and use a sponge with it. My favorite lipcolor at the moment is Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Envious. The color stays on for so long and it doesn’t rub off, like a stain. But what I really like is that they come in tiny tubes so I can throw it in my pants pocket and take it with me.

My friend Aki Yamaguchi cuts and colors my hair. He mostly does editorial shoots, but he also rents a chair at this place in the Lower East Side called Kropps & Bobbers, so I can just walk there from work. I’ve been dying my hair this red color a lot this year—I always wanted this deep red and I had it in high school and I guess I was nostalgic. When I’m at work you can’t really tell because it’s in a bun, but when I’m out, my lipstick brings out the color of the red, which I really like. I think I might switch it to a deep blue, like a black-blue, next season.

Right after I get my hair colored, I use the Rusk Deepshine Color Conditioner. I’m always looking for something sulfate-free when I color my hair and this one smells really good, too. I feel like after I chemically treat my hair I need something more intense. It’s one of those conditioners that after you put it in it feels so slick afterwards and then I stop using it after my first few washes. I also like the Aveda ones because they are minty and feel really refreshing. I wash my hair only four times a week because I don’t like the fluffiness that comes with freshly cleaned hair. I’ll use the Everyday Oil again to mat it down and have more of a wet look. Jao Coiffette is good, too, because I love the way it smells.

I get gel pedicures. It’s a process—it takes like an hour and a half because they need to use a special light to seal it. It’s pretty cool because once the process is done, you can put your socks on and get out of there. I get it done at Vanity Projects in the Lower East Side. I mostly do white or opal and they last for a really long time. And I only do my toes because I can’t have manicures at work.

This year I decided that I want to have a fragrance. I haven’t had one since I was in high school and I used to use Issey Miyake. I loved it! Now I’m exploring options. I’m obsessed with Regime des Fleurs’ purple one–Water/Wood. It’s kind of citrusy. I also love the Dimes Cedar Candle. Then I like to light cedar incense before I shower because it makes me feel calm. I just bought it on Amazon.

After work, I’ve been really into pampering myself a little bit. That might mean a multitude of things, like drawing a really nice bath or having a facial routine every night. I also like having nice bar soaps—there’s this really nice one that I use called Pearl and I get it at the Ace Hotel. It’s a charcoal soap that smells really good and has crushed pearls in it as an exfoliator. It's nice to have all these small luxurious things around. And if someone gives me roses, I’ll dry them and put them in my bath.

One thing I like to do in the bath I picked up from Spa Castle…all the ladies’ communal Jacuzzi shower area always purchase these small exfoliating pads that are very fine. You go there and all these ladies are helping to scrub each other and it’s so cute! The age range is so wide, too. I’m really into those and I’ll use them on my body a couple times a week. When I get a chance, I like to go to this really low-key spa called Organic Mama Spa on Allen Street. They get booked, but you can call a day before to see if there are any cancellations. I get massages pretty frequently because I’m standing and lifting. Downstairs they have a Jacuzzi, a steam room and a bunch of showers, but no one is ever there, so I can hang out. I also got a gift certificate to Ancient Aire Baths and it was really couple-y and romantic, but it wasn’t really for me. It was a look. I like the Korean spas better because it’s more of a lifestyle.”

—as told to ITG

Angela Dimayuga photographed by Tom Newton in her home in New York City on December 16,2015.

Next up: Read about Amanda Shine's best hand cream recommendations for people who work with clay, Kristie Streicher's favorite shampoo for her red dye job, and Bobbi Brown's suggestion for finding the right blush in The Top Shelf.