Profile picture
Emily Lai

San Francisco, CA


Emily is originally from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and grew up in the food industry. Her parents have 3 restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. She came to the U.S. to attend school at The University of Georgia. After her five years stint in a corporate environment, Emily moved to New York City and started a career in the food world with Chef Zakary Pelaccio of Fatty Crab and 5 Ninth. She filled in many roles before formally becoming Zak’s personal assistant specializing in ingredients procurement and research. She was also involved in restaurant openings of Zak’s including 230Fifth, Borough and Suka. After her tenure with Zak, she worked with Sam Mason, and was part of the opening team for Tailor, before becoming a Front of the House manager.
Upon her return to San Francisco, she worked as a Catering Coordinator for Memphis Minnie’s BBQ before starting Covered Dish Productions, a catering company; which later morphed into a restaurant, Cedar Hill: Kitchen and Smokehouse, a Southern restaurant with a specialty in Southern BBQ.
Emily currently owns The Rib Whip, two Southern BBQ food trucks. She also runs a Malaysian eatery pop up, masak | masak every other Tuesdays at Biondivino, a Russian Hill wine shop specializing in Italian wine.