Chef Anne Quatrano gives a speech at her flagship Atlanta restaurant, Bacchanlia. Photo credit: Audra Melton.

Chef Features

The Women of Food and The Stories They Tell

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Following a San Francisco debut, Resy’s second annual The Women of Food visited the nation’s best dining cities over eight consecutive weeks to celebrate acclaimed female chefs and their restaurants. In the process, the series illuminated the trailblazing efforts of thirteen chefs, collaborators, and purveyors, whose impact has been realized locally and nationally. For each dinner, which took place in each of their respective restaurants, the host chefs spoke about what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated industry; they gave speeches on building teams, creating safe spaces for creative work, and equipping the next generation with the tools and confidence to succeed.

And with each dinner, it became clear that each woman had a story to tell. 


Chefs Gabriela Cámara and Jessica Koslow, pre-service. Photo credit: Jordan Wise.

Pairing up with female collaborators brought clarity and potency to each narrative. “I believe in [the idea of] ‘best chef,’ I don’t believe in ‘best female chef.’ And I believe in the inclusivity of all genders, ethnicities, persuasions, etcetera,” chef Jessica Koslow, of Sqirl, says. “I do think that when you get to work with women in this industry, you’re dealing with people who have gone through the same battles that you have, just to get to where you are. There are a lot of shared experiences that you get by engaging. So, that’s the excitement; you’re working with people with a similar spirit,” she adds.

With that in mind, teams of two tapped into their shared philosophies, such as chefs Karen Akunowicz and Kate Williams in Boston, who showcased what it means to be “modern matriarchs” through the signature dishes they serve as their respective restaurants. Gabriela Cámara and Jessica Koslow—partners in upcoming Los Angeles restaurant Onda—together drew a connection between like-minded cultures and cuisines, using the occasion to present a first pass of their new concept.

Chefs Kate Williams and Karen Akunowicz at Fox & the Knife. Photo credit: Jordan Wise.
Chef Missy Robbins at Lilia. Photo credit: Meredith Jenks.

In Atlanta, Anne Quatrano teamed up with  Connie Matisse of East Fork Pottery to highlight how women continue to be at the forefront of the archetypal Southern industries: cooking and ceramics. And in Chicago, an alliance was formed at Tied House, between chef-owner Debbie Gold, Carrie Nahabedian, and Jennifer Kim—over a study in the global influence that women cooks have had in the food that we all serve today.

New friendships blossomed: in Nashville, Sarah Gavigan leaned on Katie Coss to strengthen her expression of the parallels between Japanese and Southern cuisines. While in Washington, D.C., co-admirers Seng Luangrath and Patrice Cleary created a conversation between their two native, Southeast Asian cuisines. Finally, chef Missy Robbins’ devoted a Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn to celebrate her team.

These are the chefs who have shaped The Women of Food, and, together, these are their stories:

Jessica Koslow and Gabriela Cámara, Los Angeles

Anne Quatrano and Connie Mattise, Atlanta

Karen Akunowicz and Kate Williams, Boston

Debbie Gold, Carrie Nahabedian, and Jennifer Kim, Chicago

Sarah Gavigan and Katie Coss, Nashville

Missy Robbins and team, New York

Seng Luangrath and Patrice Cleary, Washington, D.C.

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