Women in Food to Know Right Now

Julia Bainbridge
Food Editor
March 31, 2014

Sunday, we attended a day-long series of panel discussions and speeches by some big female names in the food world, an event otherwise known as the Jubilee. It was “a celebration of women in the world of food,” and the first event of its kind, organized by Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu, the duo behind Cherry Bombe magazine. And it was a massive success, in part because of the inspiring energy in the room and in part because of the roster of speakers and panelists. It was like a who’s who of women in America’s food world today.

Wait: that’s exactly what it was like!

Herewith, the women who spoke at the Jubilee series, a.k.a. the Women in Food to Know Right Now. It’s not all of them, of course, but it’s a good start for informing those of you who want to know a little more about what the ladies are doing, or who want to see those ladies highlighted more.

Jeni Britton Bauer: Owner of impossibly good Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Author of New York Times best-selling “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.” Stumbled into making ice cream after a successful experiment at a dinner party she gave when she was 22 (she really wanted to be a perfumer).

Photo credit: Melanie Dunea

April Bloomfield: England-born chef (pictured, above) of New York’s The Spotted Pig, the Breslin, and the John Dory Oyster bar as well as the recently opened (or re-opened) Tosca in San Francisco. Author of A Girl and Her Pig. Happy to mentor hard-working young chefs with drive, and does so constantly.

Katie Button: Chef/owner of Cúrate in Asheville, North Carolina, who left her degree in chemical and biomolecular engineering in the dust when she won a coveted stage at El Bulli. Mentee of Jose Andres. Doesn’t like the word “lucky” to enter conversations about women with successful culinary careers.

Amanda Cohen: Chef and owner of Dirt Candy, a vegetarian restaurant in New York City, and author of a cookbook of the same name.

Laurie David: Environmental activist who produced the Academy Award-winning “An Inconvenient Truth.” Her next film, “Fed Up,” about sugar addiction in America, opens May 9 this year.

Charlotte Druckman: Senior editor at Medium. Food writer who authored SKIRT STEAK: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat & Staying in the Kitchen. Woman behind Food52’s Piglet cookbook competition.

Photo credit: William Norton

Suzanne Goin: Los Angeles-based chef and owner of The A.O.C., Lucques, Tavern, and The Hungry Cat. (Pictured, above.) Author of Sunday Suppers

Dorothy Cann Hamilton: Founder and CEO of the French Culinary Institute (FCI) and host of Chef’s Story on PBS. One of the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. 

Gabrielle Hamilton: Chef and owner of Prune in New York City. Author of memoir “Blood, Bones, and Butter.” Tells it like it is.

Martha Hoover: Pioneer of Indiana’s locavore dining scene who opened Cafe Patachou in 1989 after leaving a a career as a public sector lawyer dealing with sex crimes and domestic violence cases. Now owns six restaurants in the Indianapolis area.

Kristen Kish: Winner of the most recent season of ‘Top Chef’ who just left her job at Menton in Boston to travel the world and discover her “culinary identity” before likely opening her own restaurant. Mentee of Barbara Lynch, another powerful female chef in Boston. Subject of last weekend’s New York Times Magazine article, “A Woman’s Place Is Running the Kitchen.

Amanda Kludt: Editorial Director of Eater. Only 29, she’s topped a few under-30 power lists.

Sara Kramer: Former chef at Brooklyn’s Glasserie famous for her lamb recipe. 

Katie Lee: Host of the first season of “Top Chef,” current host of the Food Network talk show “The Kitchen,” and author of two cookbooks. Board member of Feeding America.

Anita Lo: Chef and owner of Annisa in New York, which in February of this year received three stars from the New York Times. Author of Cooking Without Borders

Alexis Miesen: Co-owner of Brooklyn-based ice cream company Blue Marble who, in 2008, helped a group of women in Rwanda open their nation’s first-ever ice cream shop and is now doing the same in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Photo credit: Bravo

Preeti Mistry: Former “Top Chef” contestant and Executive Chef at Google (pictured, above). Now owns Indian street food/American/whatever-she-wants-it-to-be restaurant Juhu Beach Club in Oakland, California, which she calls “a mom and mom shop” thanks to help from her female life partner “who has a business degree.”

Christine Muhlke: Executive editor of Bon Appétit magazine who has co-authored two cookbooks, Eric Ripert’s “On the Line” and David Kinch’s “Manresa.”

Marion Nestle: Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She is also Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. Author of four prize-winning books on food, health, and politics. Blogger (almost daily!) at foodpolitics.com.

Ruth Reichl: Former editor in chief of now-defunct Gourmet magazine who also worked as a restaurant critic for both the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. Author of many books. Wants more people to cook real food at home. Really Big Deal.

Jessamyn Rodriguez: Wildly impressive founder and CEO of Hot Bread Kitchen, an organization that “increases economic security for foreign-born and low-income women and men by opening access to the billion dollar specialty food industry,” according to its website. First woman hired as a baker at Chef Daniel Boulud’s renowned restaurant Daniel.

Mimi Sheraton: Iconic former restaurant critic for both the New York Times and Time magazine who has taught cooking classes and lectured on the topic of food criticism. Tough cookie. Not currently on Twitter but we’d like that to change.

Christina Tosi: Chef and owner of Momofuku Milk Bar, cookbook author, and 2012 James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year. Known for her inventive creations that throw back to childhood favorite foods such as Cereal Milk, Crack Pie, and Compost Cookies containing potato chips. Despite her bakery being part of uber-chef David Chang’s restaurant empire, she has maintained her quirky Tosi ways (bunny-hopping when she’s uncomfortable, posting funny signs on the walk-ins) and runs her kitchen accordingly.

Julia Turshen: Writer and cook who focuses on cookbooks and recipe development.

Alice Waters: Waters didn’t speak, but as she is the godmother of the farm to table movement because of her revolutionary restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, and as she was present, she deserves a mention. Waters is currently, among other things, working tirelessly to build and share an edible education curriculum for kindergarten through high school through her Edible Schoolyard project.

Elettra Wiedemann: Model and philanthropist who launched Goodness, a local and sustainable pop-up restaurant, during New York Fashion Week in 2011. Got Mario Batali to sign on as a guest chef during that stint.