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Meet 10 of the top women chefs and restaurateurs in the U.S.
// By Amber Gibson
By Amber Gibson
Photo courtesy of Da Lat Rose
These women are transforming the restaurant industry
This diverse group of strong women are running some of the best restaurants in America, from Los Angeles to Boston. And once you get to know them – and taste their food – you'll see why they each have an impressive number of accolades.
Photo courtesy of Da Lat Rose
After fleeing Vietnam during the Vietnam War, matriarch Helene An brought Vietnamese food to America, first at Thanh Long in San Francisco in the 1980s, then Crustacean in both San Francisco and Beverly Hills.
Working with her five daughters, An defined Vietnamese fusion food with dishes like roasted crab and garlic noodles. In 2019, she was honored by the Smithsonian as the "mother of fusion cuisine" and received a Pioneer Award in Culinary Arts.
Her latest venture is Da Lat Rose, a 12-course gastrobiography tasting menu, telling her life story through exquisite dishes presented with theatrical panache.
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Photo courtesy of Patachou Inc
From sex crimes prosecutor to restaurateur, Martha Hoover has always been a force to be reckoned with – and a driving force in Indianapolis' up-and-coming culinary scene.
She now operates five concepts across 15 locations and Patachou, her original café, just celebrated 30 years in business. Another one of her restaurants, Public Greens, operates as a nonprofit, feeding more than one thousand of Indy’s less fortunate youth each week.
Hoover is dedicated to teaching the community, particularly kids, the importance of healthy eating.
Photo courtesy of Nicole Mackinlay Hahn
When it comes to fine dining and renown among the international jet set, no American woman can rival Dominique Crenn. She the first woman in the United States to receive two and then three Michelin stars for her restaurant, Atelier Crenn.
Plus, she was named the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef: West in 2018 – and Atelier Crenn is number 35 on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list.
Crenn currently operates three San Francisco restaurants, Atelier Crenn, Petit Crenn and Bar Crenn, with a fourth concept, Boutique Crenn, set to open in June 2020. Boutique Crenn will combine food and art, with a patisserie, boulangerie, coffee bar, thoughtful sandwiches and salads, plus a wine and cocktail bar highlighting natural and biodynamic wines.
Photo courtesy of Michael Prince
From a rough childhood in Boston's South End, Barbara Lynch has risen to become one of Boston's most decorated restaurateurs, with multiple James Beard Awards and seven distinct restaurant concepts in Boston including Menton, B&G Oysters, No. 9 Park and Sportello.
She was the second woman ever to receive the Outstanding Restaurateur honor in 2014 and is a Grand Chef with Relais & Chateaux. Lynch was even named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people in 2017 for her restaurant empire, the only chef to be included on that year's list.
Photo courtesy of Lissa Gotwals
Last year, Ashley Christensen won the 2019 James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef for her creative comfort food (including some of the best macaroni and cheese on the planet) at six distinct restaurant concepts in Raleigh. That follows up on her 2014 Best Chef: Southwest James Beard Award and 2017 Chef of the Year honor from Eater.com.
Her newest restaurant, Poole'side Pies serves Neapolitan pizza next door to her flagship Poole's Diner. Later this year, Christensen will launch BB's Crispy Chicken, a fast-casual fried chicken concept with three locations in the Triangle. Her motto is "Choose Kindness" and that kindness resonates in her food and how her staff treats each guest like family.
Photo courtesy of Maureen Evans
A Mexico City native, Daniela Soto-Innes is chef/partner of two contemporary Mexican restaurants in New York City, Cosme and ATLA, and she was named James Beard's 2016 Rising Star Chef of the Year.
Most recently she became the youngest recipient of the World’s Best Female Chef award by World's 50 Best in 2019. Next up for the young chef? Expanding her culinary empire westward, with openings of new restaurants in the Los Angeles Arts District and at the Wynn Las Vegas.
Photo courtesy of Quentin Bacon
Mashama Bailey is the James Beard Award-winning executive chef/co-owner of the critically acclaimed The Grey set in a former Greyhound bus terminal in Savannah, Georgia, as well as Southern lunch counter The Grey Market a couple blocks away.
Since opening in December 2014, The Grey has been named one of TIME Magazine's "The World's Greatest Places" and was a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s 2015 Best New Restaurant award. With the premiere of season 6 of "Chef’s Table" on Netflix, Bailey became the first African-American chef to star on the show.
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Photo courtesy of Evan Sung
Three-time James Beard Award nominee Katie Button is the executive chef and co-owner of Asheville, North Carolina's beloved Cúrate and Appalachian-inspired bagel shop Button & Co. Bagels.
A Southern chef with a scientific mind, Button honed her craft in the kitchens of some of the world's best chefs, most notably Ferran Adrià and José Andrés, before opening her own restaurant in 2011.
Both Food & Wine and Esquire have recognized Cúrate as one of the most important restaurants in the country for elevating Asheville's restaurant scene and pioneering the tapas trend in the United States. Button continues to challenge the industry standard, steadily building comprehensive benefits to create a sustainable work environment for her living wage-certified restaurant group.
Photo courtesy of Dylan + Jeni
Suzanne Goin & Caroline Styne
From their first restaurant, Lucques in West Hollywood in 1998, followed by a.o.c. in 2002, Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne seem to have the magic touch. And they have a slew of James Beard Awards to prove it – including Goin's 2006 Best Chef California and 2016 Outstanding Chef of the Year awards after eight nominations.
Most recently, Styne received the Outstanding Restaurateur honor in 2018. The duo's newest project is operating food and beverage services of the Proper Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, slated to open in spring 2020.
Photo courtesy of Amelia J Moore Photography
Widely known as a judge on Food Network’s "Chopped" and "Wedding Cake Championship," Maneet Chauhan is the founding partner and president of Morph Hospitality Group in Nashville, Tennessee. It includes her flagship restaurant, Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Tànsuo, The Mockingbird and Chaatable.
From Indian street food to contemporary Chinese cuisine, she is continuously filling the gaps in Nashville's culinary landscape with globally-inspired concepts to create a more diverse dining scene in the city.