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James Beard Foundation Bestows 21 Women with 2016 Women in Culinary Leadership Grant

James Beard Foundation Bestows 21 Women with 2016 Women in Culinary Leadership Grant

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

After 60 women applied to participate in the mentor/grantee program cultivated the James Beard Foundation, 21 recipients have been selected as winners for the opportunity. 

Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation“We are delighted to see the tremendous growth our Women in Culinary Leadership Grant Program has achieved in just one year. Thanks to the generosity of the participating restaurateurs and chefs/owners, we’ve tripled the number of experiences offered,” said Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation. “As these 21 talented women embark on our mentoring program, we look forward to helping them achieve their dreams of a successful career in the restaurant world.” 

The women, with a background in either hospitality or the culinary arts, will participate in either a six or twelve-month program, according to a recent press release. The grants will pair each of the recipients with an award-winning chef or restaurateur from across the nation to provide mentorship and guidance in the women’s culinary-themed skills. 

From left to right: Michael White, Gail Simmons, Dana Cowin, Emily Luchetti, Rohini Dey, 2013 WICL grantee Eliza Martin, JBF president Susan Ungaro, and Kristen Kish

The list of women selected for the 2016 Women in Culinary Leadership Grant Program, and their paired mentors, are as follows. Asterisks denote James Beard Award Winners:

  1. Tracy Austin, Belleville, NJ – Six months with Cindy Pawlcyn*, Mustards Grill, Napa, CA
  2. Margaret Bondi, Chicago, IL – Six months with Beth Gruitch and Jennifer Jasinski*, Rioja, Denver, CO
  3. Alexandria Bowler, Scottsdale, AZ – Six months with Ti Adelaide Martin, Commander’s Palace*, New Orleans, LA
  4. Madeline Brandstetter, Chicago, IL – Six months with Kevin Brown, Lettuce Entertain You® Enterprises*, Chicago, IL
  5. Katie Briggs, Upper Black Eddy, PA – Six months with Erin Shea and Lee Chizmar, Bolete, Bethlehem, PA
  6. Samantha Ferguson, Parkersburg, WV –  Six months with Sarah Robbins, 21 C Hotels, Cincinnati, OH & Lexington, KY
  7. Holly Fierce, Washington, DC – Twelve months with Kim Bartmann, Multiple Restaurants, Minneapolis, MN
  8. Kristina Forsberg, Asheville, NC – Six months with Elizabeth Blau, Elizabeth Blau & Associates, Las Vegas, NV
  9. Alexandra Gadd, Phoenix, AZ – Twelve months with Rohini Dey, Vermilion, Chicago, IL
  10. Chanel Gaude, New Orleans, LA – Six months with Paul Fehribach, Big Jones, Chicago, IL
  11. Sarah Gonzales, Sacramento, CA – Six months with John Besh*, Besh, New Orleans, LA
  12. Guadalupe Hernandez, Rye, NY – Twelve months with April Bloomfield*, Spotted Pig, New York, NY
  13. Shelby Manus, Apex, NC – Twelve months with Cindy Hutson, Ortanique, Miami, FL
  14. Chanell Okoro, Houston, TX – Twelve months with April Bloomfield*, The John Dory Oyster Bar, New York, NY
  15. Ranea Orosco, Austin, TX – Six months with Linton Hopkins*, Restaurant Eugene, Atlanta, GA
  16. Kelly Pittman, Waianae, HI – Six months with Matthew Jennings, Townsman, Boston, MA
  17. Meaghan Rigali, Bloomington, IN – Six months with Sam Fox, Fox Restaurant Group, Phoenix, AZ
  18. Lilith Smith, Tallahassee, FL – Twelve months with Rohini Dey, Vermilion, Chicago, IL
  19. Meagan Stout, Denton, TX – Twelve months with April Bloomfield*, The Breslin, New York, NY
  20. Meadow Swanson, Seattle, WA – Twelve months with Tom Douglas*, Multiple Restaurants, Seattle, WA
  21. Jennifer Thomas, Poughkeepsie, NY – Twelve months with Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, Boka Restaurant Group, Chicago, IL

The Women in Culinary Leadership Programs was founded in 2012 by James Beard Foundation trustee and restaurateur Rohini Dey, alongside Ungaro.

Rohini Dey, Owner and Founder of the Indian-Latin restaurants Vermilion“We created this program to help accelerate women’s careers in the culinary industry, specifically by building their skills both in the kitchen and in front-of-house management,” said Rohini Dey, Owner and Founder of the Indian-Latin restaurants Vermilion in New York City, NY, and Chicago, IL. “This year, 18 mentors will guide the JBF Women in Culinary Leadership grantees through rigorous programs that will include business training in kitchen, floor management, marketing, and entrepreneurship. By staying actively involved in our grantees development trajectory during the training and beyond, our goal is to enable women to break through the gastro-ceiling.”

The Foundation also stated that a certain number of grantees will also get the chance to work at the historic James Beard House for one week, with guest chefs. 

Keep up your hunger for industry happenings as DeliMarket News continues to report on the James Beard Foundation, and other esteemed opportunities in the industry.

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