Earlier this month, Eater National announced a list of 50 Eater Young Guns semi-finalists across the country, a collection of the most promising up-and-coming talent in the restaurant industry. The requirements for inclusion? Nominees are under 30 - or have worked in their chosen field for less than five years, and they show extraordinary promise. The list is a culmination of months of nominations and input from chefs, local Eater editors, and other industry folks. In late June, the finalists will be revealed. Until then, Eater is profiling many of the 50 semi-finalists. Here now is a video profile of one of the Boston semi-finalists, Alyssa DiPasquale, manager and advanced sake professional at O Ya. (She is joined on the list by another Bostonian, Michael Serpa, the executive chef at Neptune Oyster.)
DiPasquale began working at O Ya nearly five years ago as a hostess and "just kept asking for more to do," she recounts, later becoming assistant manager and then manager. She also earned a professional certificate in sake and now manages the beverage lists and teaches sake classes at the restaurant.
Not only do O Ya owners Tim and Nancy Cushman enthusiastically vouch for DiPasquale, whom they sent to Japan to work in a sake brewery over the winter, but noted Boston restaurateur (and Young Guns panelist) Barbara Lynch praises her as well. "She is a leader in her field," says Lynch. "You learn a shitload from Nancy [Cushman], but it's up to Alyssa to take that knowledge and share it. And she is definitely doing it."