Last week, some food folks got talking on Twitter about the dearth of female chefs featured in New York food events—and the press's often inadequate coverage of female chefs' work. That got Dirt Candy chef and blogger Amanda Cohen on the case in a standout post last Friday. The claim: it's hard to find female chefs for events and stories in New York. Cohen's response: nuh uh!
In the time that it took her to "drink about 3/4 of a cup of lackluster coffee," she penned a powerhouse list of women who own or run kitchens in New York. Take women like April Bloomfield, Gabrielle Hamilton, and Einat Admony. Or Sue Torres of Suenos, Susan Povich of Red Hook Lobster Pound, and Jody Williams of Buvette. And plenty more, many behind great kitchens, all running the show.
Back on Twitter, more people chimed in with even more names. Gazala Halibi of Gazala Place. Wafa Chami of Wafa's. Rawia Bishara of Tanoreen. And Amanda kept adding them to her list. Here's where it stood as of Tuesday morning:
April Bloomfield - Spotted Pig, The Breslin, The John Dory Anita Lo - Annisa Alex Raij - El Quinto Pino, Txikito, La Vara Missy Robbins - A Voce (formerly) Gabrielle Hamilton - Prune Sue Torres - Suenos Einat Admony - Balaboosta Lynn Bound - all MOMA restaurants Sara Jenkins - Porsena, Porchetta, Porsena Bar Elizabeth Karmel - Hill Country Julie Taras Wallach - Tipsy Parson Barbara Sibley - La Palapa Ashley Merriman - Waverley Inn Elizabeth Falkner - Corvo Bianco Amanda Freitag - upcoming project in Empire Diner space Paola Marracino - Paola's Restaurant Zarela Martinez - Zarela (formerly) Jody Willliams - Buvette Jean Adamson - Vinegar Hill House, Hillside Rita Sodi - I Sodi Caroline Fidanza - Saltie Donatella Arpaia - Donatella, DBar, Kefi Lidia Bastianich - Felidia, Becco, Del Posto, Esca Rebecca Charles - Pearl Oyster Bar Alex Guarnaschelli - Butter Leah Cohen - Pig and Khao Zahra Tangorra - Brucie Grayson Schmitz - Willow Road Kristin Sollenne - Bocca Di Bacco Hong Thaimee - Ngam Akiko Thurnauer - Family Recipe Sawa Okochi - Shalom Japan Ivy Stark - Dos Caminos Sarah Buck - Pies n'Thighs Carolyn Bane-Pies n'Thighs Erika Williams - Pies n'Thighs Anna Klinger - Al Di La Sara Kramer - Glasserie Molly Nickerson - Sorella Susan Povich - Red Hook Lobster Pound Sohui Kim - The Good Fork Amy Scherber - Amy's Bread Heather Carlucci - Lassi (formerly) Mary Redding - Mary's Fish Camp Savannah Jordan - Brooklyn Fish Camp Ann Redding - Uncle Boons Meg Grace - The Redhead Sarah Simmons - City Grit Kitty Thammasat- Ayada Gazala Halabi - Gazala Place Sripraphai Tipmanee - Sripraphai Rawia Bishara - Tanoreen Katarzyna Ploszaj - Petit Oven Marny Conforti - Tuscany Grill Patti Jackson - I Trulli (formerly) Elise Kornack - Take Root Wafa Chami- Wafa's Francine Stephens - Franny's Shanna Pacifico - Back Forty West Katy Sparks - Tavern on the Green
See the full post on Cohen's blog.
Of course there are more. Ratchanee Sumpatboon of Larb Ubol. Melissa and Emily Elsen of Four & Twenty Blackbirds. Dorie Greenspan of Beurre and Sel. Allison Robicelli of Robicelli's. And then there's Cohen herself, who certainly deserves to be on that list. Plus a whole world of pastry chefs, amazingly talented sous chefs, kitchen managers, bartenders, and street vendors who've worked their way up through the ranks to high places in their fields. For further reading, do check out Charlotte Druckman's Skirt Steak, a book with stories from over 70 women in the food industry on what it's taken to get to where they are today.
We've been to our fair share of food events and we'll agree with the critics: you often see the same faces again and again, overwhelmingly male. New York's food media, for all its diversity, tends to call on the same names again and again—overwhelmingly male. Are awesome female chefs really that hard to find in New York, or are we just not looking hard enough? As Cohen demonstrated, it's not even that hard to look.
So let's expand this list even further. What names can you add? And as for us on SE:NY, we interview chefs all the time, and more of them can and should be women.* So who do you want to see featured on Serious Eats? Let loose in the comments.
* A disproportionate spread of subjects for which I'm at fault, not our excellent writers of those series.