Traditionally men have brought home the bacon and women have cooked it, so I’ve always found it interesting that women chefs are the exception and not the rule. For the most part cooking is to women what a college degree is for most of us, an expected asset. And yet the most notable culinary school in the country, the Culinary Institute of America, didn’t admit women until 1970! For Women’s History Month, let’s take a look at my picks for the top 5 women who have been successful in this surprisingly male dominated field.
1. No list of women culinary innovators would be complete without Julia Child. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, she went on to write one of, if not the most famous cookbooks, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. In 1963 she debuted the successful cooking show, “The French Chef.” In 1993 Child was the first woman inducted into the CIA Hall of Fame.
3. Growing up in one of America’s meccas for foodies, it comes as little surprise that Chicago-born Stephanie Izard was the first woman to win the title for Top Chef. She is also one of the show’s most successful participants as she is going on her second restaurant at the age of 33.
4. Food radical and pioneer of the Californian Food Movement which promotes (gasp) organic, fresh, farm-to-table ingredients Alice Walker was the first woman to win the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in 1992. She is also the Chef/Owner of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA since 1971.
5. Cat Cora is the first — and remains the only — female Iron Chef . She is a co-founder of Chefs for Humanity, which mobilizes chefs to raise funds and provide resources in instances of emergency. Cora is also the Executive Chef for Bon Appetit magazine and a spokesperson for UNICEF and InSinkErator.
- Chef Cat Cora Named Godmother for Oceania Cruises’ Newest Ship (shoppingblog.com)
- Cat Cora Partners with Cooking.com for Her New Kitchenware Shop (prweb.com)
- How to Become a Chef (answers.com)
- A new breed of chefs takes over hotel kitchens in India (bbc.co.uk)
- Some thoughts on Top Chef and sexism (celeberrimous.wordpress.com)