by The Culinistas
March is International Women’s Month. But around here, we celebrate women 365 days a year. Our company is women-led; we pride ourselves on having a powerhouse team of women advisors, and we celebrate everything it means to be a woman, from career success to postnatal support.
We’re also proud and grateful for the women who have paved the way in the kitchen for generations before and generations to come. Here, we asked a few of our faves to name the super women in their lives, so we can recognize these industry leaders not just in March, but all year-round.
“Reyna Duong’s (of Sandwich Hag in Dallas) Vietnamese food is made with love and care. And that would be enough for me to highlight her here. But Reyna’s changing the world by setting an example of how you can work with and benefit from training people of all abilities. Her brother, Sang, has Down’s Syndrome and is her best worker. Reyna does not tolerate rude or inconsiderate behavior anywhere in her universe—from staff or patrons. I look up to her for the way she lives and leads.”
Culinary Director, Dyanne Iandoli:
“Alice Waters, ALWAYS. Not only did her hand in the revival of the farm-to-table and slow foods movements spark my passion and love for all things sustainable and culinary in general, but I essentially owe a great portion of my culinary career to her. Each job I have had from 2017 on grew from relationships & happenings following my time at the Rome Sustainable Food Project that she founded in 2007–even my current position as Culinary Director trickles down to my time there!”
“I deeply admire Lani Halliday, the gluten-free baker and founder of the transformative @brutusbakeshop, who creates such a powerful sense of belonging and community through food and hospitality. A creative entrepreneur, thoughtful mother, and generous human, she is the ultimate multihyphenate who is elevating what it means to value our industry and ourselves in the process. Plus, everything she pours her heart into is magical and delicious.”
Co-founder Jill Donenfeld:
“Jeong Kwan is a Buddhist monk and chef whose work manifests through a reverence and respect for the earth’s bounty and ability to nourish and heal when we listen to it and act in accordance to it’s principles of balance. In regards to connection, sustainability and a holistic approach to cuisine, she is THE important force.”
Co-founder Tiana Tenet:
“Missy Robbins. Love that she didn’t follow the Georgetown herd and pursued her passion.”
“Moonlynn Tsai. She is a gift to this world. Not only is she an amazing chef, but she is an incredible human being. The work she and her partner, Yin Chang, do with Heart of Dinner is inspiring. When COVID-19 hit, Moonlynn and Yin started delivering warm meals to the elderly in the Asian-American community who were scared to leave their homes. A year later, they have delivered over 55,000 meals with a goal of 250,000 meals. I cannot stress how meaningful their work has been, especially as the rise in violence against the AAPI community has risen dramatically. “
“Camilla Marcus is a visionary chef, entrepreneur, and advocate for the restaurant & hospitality industry. I first got a taste of her work when I frequented her socially conscious and sustainable restaurant West~bourne in NYC. In this space, Camilla brought to life a zero-waste restaurant with plant-based dishes and hired staff from a youth empowerment non-profit. With the onset of the pandemic, she was forced to close her doors, but that did not stop her from shifting West~bourne’s business to provide online retail, packaged provisions and curated culinary experiences. Camilla is a founding member of Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants (ROAR) and the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) which call for reform in the restaurant & hospitality industry. Most importantly, Camilla is a mother who is just trying to build a better future for her children and the next generation of culinary experiences.”
And TWO for Maneet Chauhan!
Margaret Barrow, Founder of It’s Nola:
“Maneet Chauhan is a chef I admire immensely. She’s brought Indian cooking into the mainstream with her delightful recipes and deep interest in sharing the history of Indian spices. I love that she takes us on journeys into India where she smells and tastes a variety of Indian spices and foods and shares her thoughts with us, her viewers. She’s a true chef/educator in the ways that she takes the time to clearly explain to her audience (on all media platforms) just how to cook her recipes and why certain spices are used in the dishes she cooks. I am so grateful for her expertise. I am someone who needs to know what a particular spice does to the foods I am using in my recipe, so I appreciate Chef Chauhan’s expertise. I may not be a chef, but she’s certainly made me a better cook in my own world.”
“I greatly admire Maneet Chauhan. She is breaking barriers, and paving the way for a new generation of desi women in the culinary community. Her innovation and creativity continue to inspire me. Above all, what I truly admire most is her warmth and genuine passion to connect with others, like me, who have benefitted by her trailblazing. She is a rare gem in this industry.”