Chef Asia Mei was born in Fremont, California, and grew up right in the middle of the Silicon Valley. Growing up in an atmosphere where pursuing financial or technological careers were the norm, she always knew the typical office setting was not for her. While having an extremely competitive nature always resulted in doing very well at school, it allowed her to truly thrive in demanding sports like gymnastics and martial arts. These disciplines consumed her extracurricular life and would later on influence her culinary career and success on the line.
Living in the Bay Area was always an amazing source of exposure to different cultures and their food. While Asia didn’t know how to cook anything, the taste of her mother’s fried rice or the tamales from the neighboring Mexican taco stand always offered a satisfaction that nothing else could rival. When she moved to Boston, MA to attend Boston College’s Honor’s Program, it was in those “college food” dormitory years that she learned just how much she missed the availability of the good food at home.
After achieving a successful degree at BC in Economics and Biology, working as a stuntwoman in Los Angeles during the summers, Asia was lucky enough to land herself in the Boston restaurant world and has never looked back. Deciding her last semester that this would be the route she’d always hoped for, she skipped her graduation ceremony to search for a job to learn how to cook; this would be the day she wandered into the revered Hamersley’s Bistro, where she would leave as a Sous Chef four years later. Here, Asia excelled on the hot-line and formed much of the basis for her style of cooking with classical French technique and New England ingredients. She would later further her love for the many possibilities of American cuisine working with the well-known Kinkead brothers at Sibling Rivalry as an executive sous chef.
Even with an undying love for all things butter and salt, Asia then worked as head chef at Whole Foods for two years, which allowed her a unique opportunity to round out her multi-cultural approach to bright, healthy flavors with which everyone can identify. She was able to quickly appreciate the chance to explore the delicious, healthier possibilities found in diets based more on organic, vegetarian, and food allergen free values.
At the Franklin Southie, Asia was excited to bring her culinary acumen and energy to execute menus based on fun, fresh flavors. The inviting neighborhood setting of the Franklin provided the perfect opportunity to do so with every season. After a year, she moved on to Sam's on the Waterfront in the flourishing Seaport District, with the ability to further utilize local, quality ingredients. In a 3 ½ year duration, her own spin on both East and West Coastal style cooking strived to match the beautiful restaurant’s aesthetic, and contributed to numerous glowing re-reviews, accolades and praise.
Now, returning to the old Franklin Southie space, Chef Mei opens Moonshine 152 as her first solo chef-owned venture. Fueled by the neighborhood’s energy and evolution, the restaurant will focus on maintaining a fun, sustainable, delicious take on bar and kitchen offerings late into the night. Entrusted with the legacy and soul of the space, Mei and the Moonshine crew couldn’t be more excited to be a real fixture in the community, and continue to draw inspiration from it for everything from the spirit of the food to the drinks and warm, inviting atmosphere.