Mission Chinese chef, local food activist reject interview with Trump site

The New York location of Mission Chinese Food. Photo by Wally Gobetz via Flickr.

A writer for Ivanka Trump’s style website met with a polite but firm rejection when she sought an interview with Angela Dimayuga, the head chef of a Mission Chinese Food restaurant.

“As a queer person of color and daughter of immigrant parents I am not interested in being profiled as an aspirational figure for those that support a brand and a President that slyly disparages female empowerment,” Dimayuga wrote back, according to the Huffington Post.

When Dimayuga, head chef at New York’s Mission Chinese Food restaurant (whose counterpart is on Mission Street in San Francisco between 18th and 19th streets) found a message in her Instagram inbox from the freelance writer, she turned to San Francisco food activist — and until recently, Bi-Rite community project manager — Shakirah Simley for advice.

“I just kind of guided her through understanding which way to go,” said Simley, who had just met with Dimayuga in New York.

Simley advised Dimayuga that there were two possible responses: Either polite disinterest without further detail, or a rejection with an explanation of why. The latter could be riskier, especially if the response got widespread attention, which it did.

“As a food person, you’re speaking out, and I highly encourage you to be unapologetic,” Smiley said she advised. “Be who you are. And there could be consequences. You might get some blowback, but with the political climate we’re in, it’s important to speak up.”

Food and politics are closely intertwined, Simley said today in a phone interview, from how immigration policies affect workers to racial divides in the service industry to gender wage disparities. Simley is working with a group of other San Francisco women in the food industry on a project called Nourish|Resist, focused on political opposition to Trump’s leadership with, and through, food.

Dimayuga has reportedly not received a response from the writer, though HuffPo reports she did get a social media follow from Ivanka.

“In the meantime, we have to make sure that our brand identities are not being used in a way that’s not in alignment with our politics,” Simley said.

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