Updated: Mar 26, 2021
While the food scene is still considered a male-dominated industry, it’s certainly not short of incredible and inspiring women. These are the women who are challenging the norm, pushing boundaries and extending their efforts to their local communities.
From the kitchen to the boardroom, we’ve rounded up the most influential women in food right now.
Lisa and Alana Macfarlane
Gut health has been a hot topic for some time now and nobody knows this better than twins Lisa and Alana Macfarlane. In 2017, they set up The Gut Stuff after becoming “chief guinea pigs” for the Twin Research department at King's College, where they discovered that despite having 100 percent of the same DNA their guts only had 30 to 40 percent of the same microbiota. This highlighted how even the bodies of twins can behave drastically differently from one another, with varying responses to diets and lifestyles. The Gut Stuff website is packed full of useful resources, recipes and tips, and offers accessible information for anyone interested in learning more about gut health.
Asma Khan is a true inspiration in the food industry. From starting her own supper club in her front room, to running a Soho pop-up, she then went on to open the Darjeeling Express restaurant in Carnaby’s sought-after Kingly Court. Khan also employs an all-female kitchen in an attempt to train young females in the kitchen and encourage them to start their own businesses. You can see more of her story on Netflix’s Chef’s Table – an inspiring must-watch!
Kerry Diamond is the editorial director and co-founder of Cherry Bombe – a female-focused food magazine that champions women in the industry. She is also the owner of Smith Canteen Coffee Shop in Brooklyn, and dedicates her time to acknowledging women in the food industry and bringing important topics to light. Some of these topics include juggling motherhood with a career in food (the industry is notorious for long hours), and showcasing more female restaurateurs and chefs while giving them the recognition they deserve.
Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez
Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez was the first woman to work the bread station at New York restaurant, Daniel. Women aren’t commonly trained on bread stations or the ovens as it can involve heavy lifting and strenuous work. Instead, they’re put on low-skilled and lower paid jobs in the kitchen. However, Rodriguez is here to change all that as she uses her expertise to train low-income women so that they can be placed in fair-wage jobs. Her non-profit, Hot Bread Kitchen, has an impressive 100% job placement rate and some of her graduates have gone on to get jobs at Google, Whole Foods and New York’s Great Northern Food Hall!
Benjamina Ebuehi was a quarter finalist on 2016’s Great British Bake Off and blew the judges away with her superstar baking skills. Since her TV days she’s been working as an ambassador at Luminary Bakery – a social enterprise that offers skills training, paid employment and a supportive community to help women facing poverty, homelessness, violence or criminal activity. Ebhehi also has her own food and lifestyle brand, The Sister Table, which she founded with her sister. Together, they host supper and brunch clubs for women so that they can come together to meet, eat and share.
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