Southfield (CW50) – Chef Gary Mui was born and raised in Detroit, but he found that his neighborhood and the surrounding city didn’t have many Asian American families, so he felt like he grew up with more of an American style, never seeing himself as different from anyone else. As he approached leaving high school, he found himself more interested in his own culture and his own heritage and began embracing his Chinese roots.
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As the years have gone on, Mui saw more in the Asian American community were coming together to form a more cohesive, less spread out community, bringing their culture, traditions, and voices to the forefront of change in Detroit. While discussing the common misconceptions of the Asian American community, Mui pointed to the fact that many see the Asian community as passive and submissive community.
Mui went on to say, “That’s not true. I believe we all have a voice, and I think that’s showing more now with the API Vote and ACA doing all these programs to help the Asian community bond together.”
As for his journey into the restaurant industry, Mui described the importance of food to Asian culture and how food will always bring harmony and closeness within families. Mui’s father was also in the restaurant industry, and this is where Mui found his love for cooking. His parents always pushed him and his siblings to become doctors or lawyers, but his interest in cooking overshadowed his focus on school.
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Mui opened Alma Kitchen with Alicia Sanchez in 2019. They blended her Mexican heritage with Mui’s Chinese roots. Michigan Good Food Fund provided financing in 2018 through Detroit Development Fund supporting Alma Kitchen in opening a new restaurant in the Jefferson/Chalmers neighborhood of Detroit.
He doesn’t use as many family recipes to create his dishes, but Mui uses the techniques and ingredients that his mother and father instilled in him while growing up to blend his heritage into modern cuisine.
Chef Gary Mui, Co-Owner of Alma Kitchen, joins Jackie Paige on Community Connect to discuss his Chinese heritage and how it has helped him develop into the person and chef that he is today.
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Watch Community Connect, Saturday at 7am on CW50