Anita Lo, a second-generation Malaysian American, grew up in Birmingham, Michigan.
She graduated from Concord Academy and then from Columbia University, where she earned a degree in French literature. While a student at Columbia, Lo spent time at its French language institute in Paris. It was there that she developed a love for French cuisine. A year after graduating from college she moved back to Paris to enroll at the culinary school L’Ecole Ritz-Escoffier. While a student there, she interned with top French chefs Guy Savoy and Michel Rostang.