Though there is an old-fashioned belief that a “woman’s place is in the kitchen“, there are few who easily come to great success and acclaim by cooking professionally. The irony is the glut of famous and extremely successful male chefs despite the idea that the kitchen is not ‘their place’.When it comes to rising to the top, the cream of the crop of female chefs pales in comparison to their male counterparts.
As March 8th is International Women’s Day I’ve decided to share my shortlist of women who’ve made a name for themselves with food. One can’t have a list of female chefs without mentioning the obvious who come to mind when it comes to women, cooking and fame. There’s Julia Child of course as well as the celebrity chefs du jour, the Food Network stars: Cat Cora, Giada de Laurentis, Nigella Lawson, Ina Garten (i.e. the Barefoot Contessa) to name a few. Following is a list of women I feel are worth recognizing on this day:
- Anna Olson. I’ve learned more about baking theory by watching Anna Olson than I have in some of my baking courses. I am inspired by Anna’s entry into the professional world of cooking. Having been trained and employed in a completely different sector, she followed her baking heart and went back to school to study one of her passions. Her passion is now very successful, profitable and palatable.
- Terry Hope Romero & Isa Chandra Moskowitz – co-authors of such vegan baking books as Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
- International chefs of repute: Peta Mathias from New Zealand and Donna Hay in Australia. I took workshops from both of these ladies at the Wellington Food Show in New Zealand (2009) and got a taste of some ‘down under’ cooking.
- Laura Calder. Similar to Anna Olson, Laura transitioned from one field of work into cooking. I like her articulate and humourous presentation on her t.v. show French Food at Home. I like the user-friendliness of her non-meat recipes. Too bad she has to cook with meat too.
- Greta and Janet Podleski. These 2 sisters come to fame by way of the Looneyspoons cookbooks and the t.v. show Eat, Shrink & Be Merry. It is their humour and wit, determination to succeed and their ‘healthified’ approach to traditional recipes that I like best.
- Mollie Katzen. The inspiration behind my Being Mollie cooking adventures and author of the first vegetarian cookbooks I owned.
- Chloe Coscarelli. Vegan chef and baker who shot to fame after winning one of the episodes of Cupcake Wars.
- Alice Waters. To be honest I had no idea who she was until I did research for this post. She is a chef, restaurateur and advocate for a sustainable food economy.
- Ruth Reichl – A woman after my own heart: a successful food writer! She deserves a mention for that alone. Cooking is a skill as is baking but so is writing about food and eating it! We all excel in one area or another.
Women of the World – Unite, Bake & Be Successful!