A quick bite with Billy Dec

With just 4 days to our Milestone Awards Benefit it’s time to catch up with another awardee, Chicago restaurant and entertainment entrepreneur, Billy Dec.

Your favorite Chicago icon? I am stumped by this question as I am madly in love with way too many parts of this city that it’s impossible for me to settle on one!

What meal best describes you? Brunch at Sunda. As an Asian American with a mom from the Philippines, growing up in Chicago, the East meets West menu allows me to enjoy all the traditional American dishes I grew up with in a modernized way, while at the same meal enjoying some of my favorite Filipino dishes like pancit, lumpia, adobo, and crispy pata. There’s also some of my Japanese and Chinese favorites like sushi and dim sum. Basically this meal describes me as a huge mix and appreciator of everything Asian American brought together and reimagined in new, different, and exciting ways!

Who is an Asian American that exemplifies great style? Ang Lee’s style of story telling has always blown my mind.  Such reach across genres, and beautiful, with depth and huge impact, from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” to “Brokeback Mountain” to “Life of Pi”.  His work demonstrates that he is on a whole other level of insight, confidence and capability, not just as an Asian American, but for any artist of any background. That’s the style I aspire to enjoy and share one day!  And the fact that he’s an Asian American from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign like me, makes me think there is no reason I can’t hit those levels one day too!

Describe what your community means to you and your work. There was a time where my family unexpectedly and unfortunately fell on some pretty bad hardships, including illnesses that led to me losing my dad and brother early, leaving me to take care of myself , and at times the rest of my family. It was my community that gave me guidance, allowed me the opportunity to work, to make money to pay for school, to push and push myself to work my way up. I will never forget it, and will always work to give back some of the same opportunites, to be a strong contributor to a strong community.