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Melissa Miranda Nourishes the Community at Musang

Cover Image for Melissa Miranda Nourishes the Community at Musang
By Sophie Brochu
Posted
Categories:Interview

Musang is “community-driven and not chef-driven” says Melissa Miranda. She prefers the title of leader, organizer, or even healer over chef. At her Beacon Hill restaurant, which is named after her father, Miranda relies on Filipinx hospitality to provide a space that’s accessible and equitable to the community. And though community takes the focus, Miranda’s food has been quick to garner national praise. Read on to find out what not to miss when you plan a visit to Musang.

Tock: What are some of the childhood memories that have inspired Musang?

Miranda: A few childhood memories involve helping my dad prep and cook in the kitchen. He taught me that cooking is fundamentally part of our human thread by way of where we’ve come from, who we imagine ourselves to be, and how we maintain stories and memories over generations. And that the kitchen is meant to be a safe, fun, and creative space.

Musang is located in a former residential home.

Tock: What does an average day look like for you?

Miranda: An average day consists of waking up to tons of coffee, going to the restaurant to attend meetings, which can be back-to-back and sometimes off-site, which is refreshing. Some days include personal self-care such as boxing or yoga, and when I’m not working a brunch/dinner shift at the restaurant I’m leading an event off-site.

Tock: Do you have a philosophy on cooking or running a restaurant?

Miranda: My personal philosophy when it comes to both cooking and running a restaurant is that it takes a tribe. So much of my experience has included systems that were hierarchical and only thrived by fragmented teamwork. Since opening Musang, my vision for the restaurant has been not only to provide an equitable space for our immediate community to feel seen through Filipinx hospitality and fed well, but also to provide the staff this exact same experience—an approach that is rather new to the restaurant industry.

Pancit Canton.

Tock: Which ingredients are you most excited about right now?

Miranda: Summer is ending here, so I’m excited for all things fall coming up. But what’s currently in my rotation is heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil pesto!

“The kitchen is meant to be a safe, fun, and creative space.”

Tock: Someone is coming to Musang for the first time. What do they have to order?

Miranda: Definitely the Pancit Canton, Short Rib Kare Kare, and our version of the classic Pinakbet.

Tock: Why is community important? What’s the best way for a restaurant to give back?

Miranda: Centering community is the only way to thrive in our professional and personal experiences. When a community isn’t centered, principles and beliefs that provide space for us to grow professionally and interpersonally, cannot survive. Or they are constantly challenged, which creates a dissonance that is hard to control. The best way for a restaurant to give back is to listen to the needs of those who truly need the most—once those needs are acknowledged, heard, and met, everything else falls into place for everyone as a whole.

Short Rib Kare Kare.

Tock: What’s next for Musang?

Miranda: Musang is in need of expansion in order to provide everything above. Kilig, which translates to the joyous excitement one feels, similar to the butterflies in your stomach, will be a fast casual restaurant that also runs as a community kitchen. Here we will be able to provide a more robust community meal program as well as many other opportunities to shine light on how food connects us all.

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Taggedfilipino cuisine


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