Mina Pizarro grew up in the Philippines surrounded by women who cooked. She went to college to pursue a career in television, but while working in production and advertising, Pizarro took a work-study position at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York and realized her true calling. She continued at ICE to earn her degree in pastry.
A formative internship at Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne led to a job offer, and while Pizarro had originally planned to work in bakeries, she instead continued to work in fine-dining restaurants, including Le Cirque, at Per Se on the opening brigade, and Veritas, where she learned from a series of influential chefs.
Moving to California for a pivotal change of scenery and approach, Pizzaro cooked with Julie Logue-Riordan in Napa Valley, developing a less formal approach to pastry and embracing an ingredients-led style.
Pizarro returned to New York to work first for Cesare Casella at Il Ristorante, then teamed up with Shaun Hergatt to open Juni, where she won a 2015 StarChefs Rising Stars Award. In June 2016, Pizarro joined forces with fellow Rising Star Chef Bryce Shuman to take on the role of pastry chef at another Michelin-star restaurant, Betony (RIP). In 2017, Pizarro joined yet another Michelin team at Nic Abello’s L’Appart.