Chef and restaurateur Michelle Bernstein is a fixture in Miami’s culinary scene. She’s earned numerous awards over the years for breaking glass ceilings, but Bernstein is looking forward to the day when that kind of recognition becomes obsolete.
“Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of my achievements, but I wish it was just equal opportunity for all, and there was no glass ceiling to shatter anymore,” says Bernstein.
For Eileen Andrade, chef-owner of Barbakoa and other acclaimed Miami restaurants, her proudest moments are when a table calls over the chef to say thanks for a delicious meal or asks to meet the owner – and to their surprise, Eileen shows up. “The look on my guest’s faces when they realize I am a 4’11” 30-year-old woman is what I thrive off of,” says the chef and third-generation restaurateur.
“More women need to feel comfortable with the idea that cooking professionally is not, and never was, a man’s domain. It’s the domain of whoever has the passion to cook,” Andrade says.
How are Miami’s female restaurant leaders setting the stage for that future? By creating it themselves. Luciana Giangrandi, chef-owner of Boia De, has been no stranger to the challenges that face women in the kitchen throughout her career, but that only inspired Giangrandi and her partner to build the environment they would’ve wanted when they were working in other restaurants.
“I always knew I wanted to open my own business, and we have a very mixed group of people working for us, and a lot of women. Our team can provide menu ideas and help with research and development. We all support one another, we want everyone to feel comfortable to learn and grow, and we understand when scheduling conflicts like childcare come up. It’s the kind of environment that I think should be available in kitchens elsewhere,” says Giangrandi.
In celebration, we’ve compiled a list of women-run restaurants in Miami and the female leaders behind them – from restaurant owners to executive chefs, pastry chefs, and beverage directors.
Abbale Telavivian Kitchen
Café La Trova
Macarena Carrillo and Mariel Dalmau
La Fresa Francesa
Macchialina Taverna Rustica
Jennifer Chaefsky and Jacqueline Pirolo
Mandolin Aegean Bistro
Old Greg’s Pizza
La Strega Cucina Italiana