While the stereotype of a woman’s place is in the kitchen exists, the culinary world is actually overrun by men! Ironic, isn’t it?
It’s the societal norm to have industries run predominately by men, which is why it’s really impressive to have females taking over a male-dominated world.
We’re taking a look at some of the world’s best female chefs and giving them the recognition that they deserve.
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12 Of The World’s Most Famous Female Chefs
Julia Child was responsible for sharing French cuisine with America. Her cookbooks made home cooking a breeze, but did you know that she only discovered her passion for cooking late into her thirties?
Her first cookbook catapulted her to stardom when she decided to make an omelette on live TV. Julia was offered a TV show which turned her into the world’s first-ever celebrity chef. Brings a new meaning to ladies first!
With three Michelin stars, Clare Smyth is one of only a few women in the world to have achieved this prestigious accolade. She was previously the chef patron at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Clare has gone on to open her own London Michelin-starred restaurant, Core by Clare Smyth and is a force to be reckoned with in the culinary world.
Clare has worked hard to reach this level of success and has mentioned that a big part of her drive was to prove that women are just as capable as men when it comes to striving and succeeding in their careers.
Brazilian born model turned chef Helena Rizzo owns and manages the Mani Restaurant. The restaurant, established in 2006, is a joint venture with her husband, Spanish chef Daniel Redondo. Together they cook the ultimate Brazilian/Spanish inspired dishes fused with gastronomic practices. Helena won the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef award in 2014.
Catherine Ann Cora
Catherine Ann Cora first studied Exercise Physiology and Biology before heading to the Culinary Institute of America to receive her culinary training. She was the first and only woman ever featured on ‘Iron Chef America’ and is currently the executive chef for Bon Appetit magazine. Catherine Ann also founded and is president of the Chefs for Humanity organisation and has worked alongside former first lady Michelle Obama to develop the Chefs Move to Schools campaign.
Spanish chef Elena Arzak is sticking to her family’s ritual of women taking on the culinary world – she comes from a long line of female chefs.
With her family’s support and guidance, she has been able to nurture her talents and excel in her career. Elena is currently head chef at Arzak restaurant, which she runs alongside her father. It is the highest-ranking restaurant in Spain.
Cristeta Comerford is famous for becoming the White House’s first female executive chef and also the first to belong to a minority group. She studied food technology but was unable to finish her degree due to immigration. Cristeta dived into the world of work as soon as she could, landing jobs at Westin Hotel, Le Ciel, Le Grande Bistro and Sheraton as a revolving chef.
Taiwanese chef Lanshu Chen received her training from the prestigious Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts and Le Cordon Bleu – both in France. She is currently the head chef for Le Mout Restaurant Taiwan and received the Veuve Clicquot Asia’s Best Female Chef award in 2014. Her dishes are the ultimate fusion of French and Taiwanese cuisine and her culinary objective is to find the ideal balance of bitter, salty, sweet, and sour flavours.
Nadia Santini is an award-winning chef with no official training. Despite this, she won the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Best Female Chef award in 2013. Nadia married into a restaurateur family and they own the Del Pescatore restaurant, which is three Michelin-starred. She is the first female Italian chef to achieve this.
Sarah Barber was the first-ever female executive pastry chef at the Hotel Café Royal and went on to open the first dessert restaurant at the establishment. She is currently leading the team at The Dorchester five-red-AA-star hotel.
Elizabeth Falkner was destined to become a filmmaker and even graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in her pursuit to do so. Elizabeth only discovered her passion for cooking after visiting Café Claude. She has gone on to become one of the most inventive and experimental pastry chefs the world has ever seen.
Alice Waters is viewed by many as the pioneer of American cuisine. She’s a proud supporter of cooking food using locally sourced, fresh organic products. Alice received a degree in French cultural studies from Berkeley and received her culinary training from the International Montessori School. Alice also spent some time in France to learn French cooking. Her restaurant Chez Panisse is known for her farm to plate methodology and continues to have a positive influence on the agricultural community. Alice also initiated the Edible Schoolyard Project and founded the Chez Panisse Foundation to fund these gardens.
April Bloomfield missed her opportunity to join the police force and decided to join her sister in attending a catering school. She soon realised her potential and went on to study at the Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies.
Alice has also worked at a variety of restaurants to become familiar with different culinary styles and techniques. The list includes Chez Panisse, Bibendum, Kensington Place and River Café. She owns two Michelin star restaurants, The Spotted Pig and The Breslin Bar & Dining Room.
It’s awe-inspiring to see what women have been able to achieve in the culinary world despite it being male-dominated. As the industry grows, we look forward to seeing how it evolves and changes as a result of the ladies who love cooking up a storm. This list is by no means extensive and we encourage you to find out more about powerful forces of the culinary industry, including the various chefs with the most Michelin stars.