“Women make better chefs,” Mario Batali once put bluntly. While the culinary industry can often be viewed as a “man’s world,” there is undoubtedly a solid number of women who are taking that stigma and burning it up right in the kitchen.
1 April Bloomfield
In 2003, this England native flew from London to New York City, where she first met future business partners Ken Friedman and Mario Batali. With a missing fingernail and and kitchen burns lacing her arms, Bloomfield attributes landing her first NYC gig to those very battle scars that gave a lasting impression to both Friedman and Batali, serving as a testament to her passion and dedication. Today, Bloomfield heads up both The Breslin at the Ace Hotel and the gastropub, Spotted Pig (which is co-owned by Batali and Jay-Z), both of which sport Michelin stars. And for those who can’t get enough of the cult favorite Spotted Pig burger (which Chef taste tests herself on a daily basis), be on the lookout for her latest venture with Friedman, Salvation Burger, dedicated to juicy, wood-fired burgers and pies by the slice. Or whole.
2 Christina Tosi
In addition to serving as a key player in the Momofuku empire, Christina Tosi has succeeded in making her own mark through the ranks of the culinary world. Pre-Chang, Tosi worked the kitchens of Bouley and the late wd~50 as a pastry chef and was soon noticed by David Chang, who originally hired her to write his food safety for Momofuku. Naturally, Chang was so impressed with her skill set that he appointed her as head of Momofuku’s new pastry program, and soon enough, Milk Bar was born. Six locations, two cookbooks, two James Beard awards, and a ridiculous amount of cake batter later, Tosi has found herself a special place in the hearts of sweet tooths everywhere. From cornflake marshmallow cookies, apple pie cakes, and a little signature something coined “cereal milk” reminiscent of the nostalgic cereal bowl bottom, the authenticity of her treats are unbeatable. In fact, those notorious birthday truffles were created by accident -- can’t get more authentic than that, now can it?
3 Amanda Cohen
What does one call a restaurant that not only serve just vegetables, but celebrates them? Dirt Candy. Said restaurant is headed up by the one and only Amanda Cohen, empress of veggie creativity, and is cranking out so much more than just the run-of-mill kale salad and the throngs of diners clamoring for reservations are nothing less than a direct result of her prowess. The Lower East Side outpost, now in its second location as it outgrew the first, is known for colorful and enticing plates like cauliflower and curry, carrot meringue pie, and the irresistible vegetable monkey bread that’s garnered more media attention than any bread we know of. Breaking news: as of September 12th, 2015, Dirt Candy will officially be joining the illustrious NYC brunch scene. With a menu featuring corn french toast and tomato biscuits, we can’t say “let’s do brunch” fast enough.
4 Jody Williams
Being one-half of the power couple behind NYC staples Buvette, I Sodi, and Via Carota doesn’t come easy, but Jody Williams makes it look like a breeze. In her 20s, Williams spent traveled across Italy with chef Kathy Casey, during which her penchant for Italian food was born. Upon returning to the US, Williams earned her stripes at various Italian restaurants including Morandi and Gottino before opening Buvette: a French-inspired gastrotheque offering a carefully curated selection of French classics along with a killer wine list featuring a mélange of French and Italian faves. Fast forward to present day, where Williams divides her time between her three wildly successful restaurants.
5 Rita Sodi
Before 2008, Rita Sodi was a stranger to the kitchen. After various stints in the fashion world, Sodi found herself diving into the culinary world and ultimately in the kitchen of her eponymous West Village eatery, I Sodi -- it was there where she met her business partner and partner in life, Jody Williams. As the neighborhood evolved, I Sodi became a staple, cultivating and maintaining a down-home feel with elegant finesse that draws in a variety of regulars. Sodi’s first official business partnership with Williams, Via Carota, opened its doors in 2014 and transports diners to the intersection of Old World influence and European tradition.