Food For Thought: Hire Women Chefs, Restaurateurs, Staff

Support Women in “NYC Restaurant Week” and “Food Festival”

Women chefs cook up record honors in 2018. A record seven women were named among the 11 annual Food & Wine “Best New Chefs.” This is my eleventh annual status report championing the successes of women chefs and restaurateurs and campaign to support, report and hire women.

According to my own research, less than 18 percent — 55 women of the total 310 "Best New Chefs” — have been selected since the list was inaugurated in 1988. In the past, I took issue with the ”Food & Whine” list, because so few women were selected for this prestigious, career-making honor.

No woman was chosen in 2003. One lone ranger was selected each year from 2004 to 2007, and from 2009 to 2011, as well as in 2015 and 2016. Two women were designated each year in 2008, 2012 and 2015. A then-record four women were named in 2017.

Congratulations to the 7 women 2018 “Best New Chefs:”

Diana Davila, Mi Tocaya Antojeria, Chicago

Julia Sullivan, Henrietta Red, Nashville

Liz Johnson, Freedman’s, Los Angeles

Clare de Boer & Jess Shadbolt, King, New York City

Katianna Hong, The Charter Oak, St. Helena, California

Kate Williams, Lady of the House, Detroit

Chef Jamie Malone’s savory Paris Brest was named “Dish of the Year” in Food & Wine 2018 “Restaurants of the Year” issue. She bought the Minneapolis restaurant in 2017. Also honored among the 10 restaurants were: Reem Assill, chef/owner, Reem’s, Oakland, California; Jennifer Jackson, co-chef, Voyager, Ferndale, Michigan.

Women Win Record 9 Top James Beard Awards

This year, 40 percent of all the nominees were women, up from 27 percent last year. For the first time, the James Beard Awards expanded criteria to ”include diversity and equality,” similar to the Oscars and the Grammys.

Women received a record 9 of the top 16 individual awards this year. Gabrielle Hamilton won for Outstanding Chef at Prune, the restaurant she started two decades ago. She is the sixth woman chef to receive the honor, along with 25 men, since 1991. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Paula Wolfert, award-winning author.

Flour Power! Outstanding Baker went to co-winner Belinda Leong, of San Francisco’s B. Patisserie. Outstanding Pastry Chef was Dolester Miles. Outstanding Restaurateur winner was Caroline Styne, The Lucques Group, Los Angeles. Outstanding Rising Chef went to Camille Cogwell, of Philadelphia’s Zahav. For complete honorees list, see

Twenty rising women in the restaurant industry were chosen to attend the James Beard Foundation Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership program. Information at:

Support Women Chefs & Restaurateurs in “NYC Restaurant Week”

Let’s put our money where our mouth is. Leading women chefs and restaurateurs are among the over 380 restaurants participating in “NYC Restaurant Week,” until August 17. Two-course, prix-fix lunch is $26 and three-course, prix-fix dinner is $42, excluding beverages, gratuities and taxes. Complete list and information at:

April Bloomfield, Michelin-starred Chef, The Breslin

Georgette Farkas, CEO, Rotisserie Georgette

Laura Maioglio, Owner, Barbetta

Lea Cohen, Chef, Pig and Khao

Lidia Bastianich, Chef/Owner, Felidia, Becco, Esca; James Beard Outstanding Chef Award, 2002 (Only 6 women since 1991).

Sara Jenkins, Chef, Porsena

Sarabeth Levine, Chef/Owner, Sarabeth’s

Suzanne Cupps, Executive Chef, Untitled (Whitney Museum)

Susy Glick, Co-Owner, The Writing Room

Support Women in “NYC Wine & Food Festival”

The 11th annual Food Network and Cooking Channel “NYC Wine & Food Festival” returns October 11–14. More than 70 events across NYC include dinners, tastings, classes and parties, to benefit hunger-relief organizations. A kick-off event called “Turning the Tables: A Gathering of Women In & Out of the Kitchen” will take place on Thursday, October 11. Featured will be Tarana Burke, “Me Too Movement” founder. Rachel Ray will host her popular Burger Bash. Giada De Laurentiis and Ina Garten co-host the 25th birthday of Food Network. Christina Tosi of Milk Bar will host All About Cake. Information and tickets:

Culinary Pipeline Shows Progress and Promise

The path to top toque is positive this year. In Style magazine’s inaugural 50 Badass Women issue features Karen Leibowitz, co-owner of The Perennial restaurant in San Francisco; graphic designer Kelli Anderson and Cherry Bombe magazine, for creating a sexual harassment prevention poster for restaurants. More sexual harassment claims have been made by employees at full-service restaurants than in any other industry since 1995.

This year’s winners of the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts are Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill in Los Angeles. They are the first women honorees and will receive $50,000 for a charity of their choice.

Female enrollment is 51 percent at the Culinary Institute of America. Forbes “ 30 Under 30” issue featured 14 women of 36 Food and Drink leaders. Linsey Lam, 13, won first place and $25,000 in the Food Network “Kids Baking Championship.”

For royal just desserts, pastry chef Claire Ptak of the Violet Bakery in London, was chosen to make Prince Harry and Meaghn Markle’s wedding cake.

Food For Thought: Hire Women Chefs, Restaurateurs, Staff

Let’s get cooking! I am developing a list of resources to support, report and hire women chefs, restaurateurs, caterers, wait/bar staff and women-owned venues. State your considerations when booking events and signing contracts. Monitor female representation, especially at events promoting women’s empowerment and sponsored by women’s organizations and companies advancing equality. Report findings to management and membership.

You’ve Got (F)email! on my website at

“Support Women Events Calendar” on website.

See “Women Make History Every Day Database” on website.

“Celebrate Women Every Day and Make History!” Onward and upward!

Beverly Wettenstein

Written by

Women’s Advocate, Speaker, Journalist, Author, Historian, Media Monitor. Founder of Women Make History Every Day Database.