Anita Lo, chef and owner of Annisa in NYC, is one of the most respected chefs in the country and has carved a name for herself through her passion, hard work, and talent. For Anita, all cooking is fusion cooking and her inventive cuisine reflects her multicultural upbringing and classic French training, while breaking down preconceived notions of what American food is and should be. As a huge supporter and role model for women in her male-dominated field, Anita even stocks her wine list with mostly female vintners. In this episode of LUCKYINSIDER, we delve into the mind of our #womancrushwednesday:
LUCKYRICE: It’s been 15 years since Annisa first opened – congratulations! How have you adapted your menu to the changing and evolving dining scene in NYC?
Anita Lo: Thanks! My style has been pretty consistent over the years, but my interests have evolved slightly over the years. That being said, while I dine out constantly and like to know what’s happening in the culinary scene, I stay true to Annisa’s multicultural mission statement.
LUCKYRICE: Your cuisine is always praised for being “borderless” – is it important for you to incorporate influences from your background and travels or do they naturally find their way into your cuisine?
Anita: Both. I strongly believe in cultural relativity and try to promote adventurous eating, but I grew up in a very multicultural environment and still travel a lot today so cooking globally comes naturally to me.
LUCKYRICE: “Annisa” means “women” in Arabic – did you face any challenges at the start of your career as a female chef? Do women still face the same challenges now?
Anita: Of course. But I never let that stop me. I also think it’s easier than it was when I started out, but we still have a long way to go. Gender bias is a deep seated cultural problem that is going to take a while to overcome.
LUCKYRICE: What advice would you give to an aspiring chef?
Anita: Believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Keep your focus on the food and it will all be ok.