The James Beard Foundation is now accepting applications for its 2015 Women in Culinary Leadership Program but the foundation appears to have forgotten to put an emphasis on "woman." The program — which was started in 2012 — offers applicants a chance to participate in a six-month or year-long "mentor/grantee program with top industry industry leaders" working in either front or back of house positions. These "top industry leaders" include pastry chef Christina Tosi (Momofuku Milk Bar, NYC), shit show restaurant owner Rohini Dey (At Vermillion, NYC), chef Tom Douglas (Dahlia Lounge, Seattle), restaurateur Kevin Boehm of Boka Restaurant Group in Chicago.
The program claims that it will teach candidates "how to break through the culinary world's ‘glass ceiling.'" However, while the program is indeed only open to women, of the 10 mentors, seven of them are men. Of the three female mentors, one — Kate Jennings of Townsman in Boston — is actually part of a male and female mentor duo. So, just how effectively can male chefs teach women to break through a "glass ceiling" that they have never had to break through themselves?
Also, the program only provide participants a weekly stipend of $500 to cover living expenses, although that money doesn't stretch very far in cities like New York and Boston. While some mentors will offer their mentees hourly paid positions, many will be working for free. The deadline for applications is December 16. See a full list of mentors below:
Kevin Boehm - Boka Restaurant Group, Chicago
Richard Melman and Kevin Brown - Lettuce Entertain You® Enterprises
Rohini Dey (WICL founder) - Vermilion, Chicago or NYC
Tom Douglas - Multiple Restaurants, Seattle
Matt Jennings and Kate Jennings - Townsman, Boston
Anthony Lamas - Seviche, Louisville, KY
Donnie Madia - Nico Osteria (One Off Hospitality), Chicago
Christina Tosi - Momofuku Milk Bar, New York City