Female Foodies: 5 Women Reclaiming The Kitchen

Chefs are the new rock star. They have TV shows, rugged cool style, tattoos, and that perfectly debaucherous lifestyles that make you want to stay up late, drink good wine, and have a party. They seem to have an enviable grasp on the good life- the glitz and glamour of fine dining and entertainment. It’s really quite a seductive seen. And they are all men. Even in hyper progressive cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco you don’t meet many female top chefs- if any. Despite the fact that modern feminism has now been around half a century, there is a distinct divide in the kitchen. Culinary art is a very interesting place to find this segregation, because in all other realms we identify women as the lead in the kitchen. Women head up any domestic culinary ventures. Men are the ones who ‘can’t cook’ and need their wives to feed them. So why is it that in the mainstream food business women are virtually non existent.

Without delving  into gender studies, or getting really heady – the most simple answer seems to be business savvy. That old school boys club that still exists in virtually every enterprise, still exists very much in the food business. Men are better able to raise capital.  The macho and bravado that comes with a more masculine personality is better able to ask for money. Women tend to be a bit more conservative in these matters. Women also get marginalized in fund raising, because they are trying to have children, raise a family, and do any other number of things that make investors less apt to throw money their way. Equality still doesn’t really exist.

More and more we are starting to see a shift. Yes, it may not quite be in all of your top restaurants- although, there are some women leading the way in this realm-  think Suzanne Goin, Alice Waters, April Bloomfield, Dominique Crenn to name a few. There is a new culinary landscape forming that is lead by women. Women are the leaders in health and wellness. We see what the future looks like, and it isn’t all steak houses, foie gras. or molecular gastronomy. Women bring a heightened awareness to the more holistic realm and tend to be early adopters to these movements. We of course have a more pronounced pressure to look good- which eating healthy certainly brings to the table (no pun intended)- but we also tend to be more open minded to change.  This isn’t a generalization, this is scientific fact.

To quote from an excellent article we read recently on why women gravitate towards health and wellness– Elaine Warburton, founder of QuantuMDX , an affordable and accessible resource for diagnostic testing, says-“From 50,000 years ago, when we were supporting the family and community while the menfolk hunted, women have been genetically programmed to care deeply for those around us. Health and wellness are intrinsic within our DNA.” This makes sense.

You can see all over instagram the amount of young women gravitating towards wellness as a career. Carefully curated Instagrams and social circles- all to promote better living. We were certainly inspired to join the movement, and although it looks glamorous and healthy on the outside it can and is a lot of hard work. To be your own boss is no easy task- whether your founding a tech company or a wellness centric lifestyle brand. The pressure is there.

So how does the conversation start with chefs and connect to women in wellness? Because they are 100% connected. Chefs are no longer allowed not to make the choice not to offer something healthy. They have to take into consideration what they are serving and where it is sourced from. Trends like green juice, green smoothies and homemade nut milks are making there way into mainstream dining establishments. The momentum is real. And whats even more exciting about it ? Is that women are good at it. Women are creating companies and making making money with the best of them.

We wanted to take the time- and the space to mention some of our favorite women who are paving the way-  connecting the dots between better nutrition and culinary art. Thank you ladies for all of the inspiration!

Amanda Bacon Moon Juice founder, foodie, and healthy living goddess. She is the epitome of California chic. With a background in fine dining, she’s taken what she’s learned and converted it into a magical wellness experience.

Summer Sanders– Sedona based, Local Juicery founder – Summer opened her juice bar just months after giving birth. (As did Amanda Bacon) She features a seasonal chef driven menu- full amazing juices, smoothies, and vegan food items. Her high vibe translates right to the plate. We love what she is doing!

Laurel Gallucci– Founder of the alternative bakery Sweet Laurel, Laurel’s baked goods are one of a kind holistic goodness. She’s doing things creating sweets that could easily compete with any of the top pastry chefs, all while completely breaking the mold of traditional baking. Alternative baking is a science and Laurel has it down!

Mariam Kinkladze– Founder of Organic Gemini Tigernut products. Mariam’s story is one of tremendous beauty and hope. She beat ovarian cancer through holistic treatment and a raw food diet. Having been told she would never be able to have children, she out ran the odds and gave birth to her son. Her product is unique to the market, delicious and extremely versatile. If you haven’t heard of Tigernuts yet… just wait!

Patricia Tsai– Founder of Chocovio, Wharton grad and CPA turned chocolatier- Patricia got tired of her day job and decided to open the most magical of chocolate shops in Culver City. She brings stone ground perfection to the art of chocolate- grinding the chocolate with a tool similar to a mortar and pestle called a mano and metate.  It’s not over processed- so the chocolate is not refined through rollers, conched, or tempered.  She serves chocolate bars and the most amazing hot chocolate drinks. Soul nourishing chocolatey goodness. We are so hooked.

All of the above mentioned bring something new to the table. They are a part of our community, or our friends. We fully recognize that the amount of women doing amazing things with food and wellness is endless at this point- the list could go on and on.

We are so excited and honored to be a part of this time and movement to make the world a healthier and tastier place! Bring it on!

In the spirit of celebrating the new gourmet. We’re sharing a recipe for the a romaine wrap. What was once quintessentially hippie- gets a luxe makeover with fermented cashew cheese, and all the beautiful sprouted goodness your heart desires.

| ROMAIN WRAP. FERMENTED CASHEW CHEESE. AVOCADO. KRAUT. SPROUTS. CHERRY TOMATOES. |

This recipe is well worth the effort. Once you get the hang of making cashew (or macadamia, or any nut and seed you decide to experiment with) – you’ll start making this all the time.

| INGREDIENTS |

  • 1 large head of romaine lettuce , washed and leaves seperated
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup sauerkraut
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup sprouts of micro greens of your choice

CASHEW  NUT CHEESE

  • 2 cups cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water (you want the mixture to be the texture of a thick nut butter)
  • 1 probiotic capsule
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Blend nuts, water, in a high-speed blender until smooth. Stir in probiotic capsule. Double line a strainer or mesh basket (the plastic kind that berries come in also works well) – with cheesecloth.Cover the cheese mixture with cheesecloth, and weigh down mixture with a jar or weight to apply pressure.  Weigh down the bundle with something slightly heavy, like a jar of water, and position so that the cheese mixture will drain.

Ferment at room temperature for at least 24 hours.

After 24 hours the cheese should have a slightly tangy smell, but there should be no mold or discoloration. Once fermentation is complete, stir in sea salt, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice. Season to taste, and feel free to add other spices or seasoning at this point.

| ASSEMBLY |

Fill romaine leaves with avocado, kraut, cherry tomatoes, fermented cheese, and garnish with sprouts. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt if desired.

1 serving equals approximately 3-4 leaves.

Serves 2

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One response to Female Foodies: 5 Women Reclaiming The Kitchen

I often wondered the same about why all the professional chefs seemed to be male when at home, mostly women cook. I found an answer when I studied culinary history. Restaurants used to have their own meat rooms where sides of beef (and other critters) hung. Most women, especially those of 100 years ago (being smaller than those of us today) could not be hoisting sides of beef on and off meat hooks. Yes, and all the other factors play a part but that one really hit home and made sense. So glad to see more women taking their place in commercial kitchens. There are some serious rock-star women chefs! Thanks to all those like Julia Childs, Deborah Madison, the Rosso Sisters and many others who paved the way.

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