Despite the fact that nearly 20 percent of head chefs working in the U.S. are women, female chefs continue to be embarrassingly underrepresented when it comes to restaurant industry awards; the latest edition of the World’s 50 Best list included just two woman-led restaurants, for instance.
And so, the somewhat-patronizing-but-maybe-also-kind-of-necessary trend of woman-only accolades — such as the World’s Best Female Chef title — pervades. Today, Food & Wine revealed a listicle of “The Most Innovative Women in Food & Drink,” teaming up with editors from Fortune to blurb about 20 women “who have had the most transformative impact in the past year on what we eat and drink” (and did it all without a Y chromosome, to boot!).
The list is heavy on the booze professionals, including winemakers, a mezcal maker, an “artisan maltster,” and a whiskey distiller, plus the owners of a saffron harvesting operation, food policy influencers, and executives from the nation’s top grocery chains.
Three chefs also made the list: Barbara Lynch, the badass, Beard-winning Boston restaurateur; LA chef Niki Nakayama, whose kaiseki restaurant N/Naka was chronicled on season one of Netflix’s Chef’s Table; and Mexico City-based chef Gabriela Camara, who last year opened Cala in SF with a staff made up of 70 percent ex-convicts.
Somewhat oddly, F&W didn’t bother doing a photoshoot for the feature (and it’s not even clear whether or not it will appear in the print issue). Meanwhile, this year’s edition of its annual Best New Chefs issue put 11 chefs on the cover, 10 of whom were men.