April 29 2014 – Robert Fiumara
Although women tend to make up the majority of restaurant staff, the most coveted role of chef is oftentimes a more male-dominated field. Is this because women aren’t given equal opportunities to excel? Is this changing?
Among prestigious restaurant award organizations, you’ll find “Best Female Chef” awards up there with a bevvy of other achievements. It’s a superlative women will find isn’t drawn for their male counterparts in the kitchen. Regardless, some of the top chef talent out there comes – or has come - in the form of top female Michelin-starred (and soon to be) chefs with the energy and expertise to succeed. Let’s take a look at a few.
Recently named Veuve Clicquot’s Best Female Chef in the world for 2014, her Brazilian fusion restaurant Mani is a respected dining establishment blending contemporary cooking with age-old traditional fare. Helena started out with careers in modeling and architecture, eventually finding her passion as a chef by working with contemporary respected masters of Brazilian cuisine.
Of course you know this lady – she revolutionized the art of French cooking at home through her approachable and widespread series of cookbooks, instructional videos and marketing materials. Her distinctive personality, humor and class made her a household name and emboldened people everywhere to try a style of cooking they may not ordinarily approach. Her show The French Chef is still one of the most successful cooking shows to date. While Julia is no longer with us, her reach extends into the household name zone as a TV personality we won’t soon forget.
A three-time Michelin starred chef, Elena runs her own chain of European restaurants with her family called Arzak. She’s at the forefront of chefs heading up the New Basque food movement, infusing contemporary styles with classic European cooking. She’s earned those stars by not only creating some of the tastiest food Europe has to offer – she also plates beautifully, truly creating a sense of visual art as well as high appetite in all her dishes.
Famed chef Mario Batali claims women are the “best cooks”, and the rising star women who work as both chef and restaurant owner are not only highly respected in their fields and in their kitchens, but business women who stand out as some of the world’s most creative, organized, hard working and amazing chefs. We anticipate seeing women snagging a fair amount of those “50 Best” awards more and more as time progresses.