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2016.037.015 Oral History Interview with Anita Lo 2015/10/23

Anita Lo is a first-generation Chinese American chef. Lo grew up in Birmingham, Michigan, and developed her interest in multicultural food at an early age. Leaving her white suburban hometown to attend boarding school in Massachusetts, Lo was introduced to a wide variety of cultures and people. She went on to study French at Columbia University, traveling abroad to attend Columbias French institute in Paris, where she quickly fell in love with French cuisine. After returning from abroad, graduating, and working at several New York City restaurants, Lo returned to France and attended the culinary school Ecole Ritz-Escoffier. Lo returned to New York and worked in several prominent eateries, including chef David Waltuck’s Chanterelle. Having developed her own unique contemporary American style and seeking creative control over her cooking, she opened her own restaurant Annisa in 2000. Lo describes her interest in adventurous, multicultural food and notes the importance of sustainably sourcing ingredients, especially seafood. She aspires for a more inclusive and equitable restaurant world. In the future, Lo hopes that minority chefs will be allowed to diversify their cooking beyond ethnic food and pave the way for less racialized kitchen spaces.