How Anita Lo went from a second-generation Chinese daughter of two doctors in Birmingham, Mich., to one of New York City’s finest chefs:
Wanting to expand her culinary outlook to include more Eastern flavors, Lo moved to a French-Vietnamese restaurant, Can, where she met Scism, who was working as a grill cook. But it was when Lo took the helm of a Korean restaurant called Mirezi that she caught the attention of the New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl, who praised her inventive dishes and ‘beautifully arranged food’ in a glowing review. After Mirezi closed in 1998, Lo and Scism spent a year traveling the world.
‘Anita will eat anything,’ says Scism, recalling a day in Bangkok when a vendor challenged Lo to eat a cockroach. ‘At one point, I told her she had a wing stuck in her two front teeth,’ says Scism with a laugh. ‘The thing about Anita is, she didn’t try the bug because she was challenged; she tried it because she really was curious about how it would taste.’