International Women’s Day: Celebrating the most inspiring female chefs and women in F&B
It’s time to #Breakthebias: In this article, we look at the female trailblazers and role models who are changing the F&B landscape
TableCheck is giving a nod to all the women working in the hospitality industry. From junior staff, restaurant managers, business owners to award-winning female chefs all over the world, we are celebrating all these powerful women who are making a difference in their field.
Here are just some of the female trailblazers we are giving a salute to in celebration of International Women's Day.
Mamta Reid, Vegan Food and Restaurant Consultant, Owner, and Chef at Tudore Tranquillity
Mamta Reid is the owner and chef of the award-winning Tudore Tranquillity, a fine-dining restaurant based in the vibrant city of Shibuya, Japan. An advocate of plant-based cuisine, Mamta designs unique vegan menus with flavor combinations meant to tantalize every taste bud without compromising creativity. It is accessible and sustainable gastronomy at its best. Mamta also advises restaurants wanting to add plant-based dishes to their current menus along with giving chef training in vegan recipe creation and the design of sustainable restaurant models.
I believe food is a medium through which energy is transferred and on this International Women's Day, I want to share how empowering and joyous it is to be able to transfer meditative energy to my guests through the beautiful medium of sustainable food as they in turn help to preserve the environment whilst creating happy memories.
Vicky Lau of Date by TATE
A role model and a culinary icon, Vicky Lau has won two Michelin stars in her career. She runs Date by Tate, a home and pastry boutique in Hong Kong among her other award-winning restaurants. A graphic artist by heart, her cuisine is an extension of her artistic expression, telling stories through food and culinary concepts with a French-Chinese approach. Lau is also an advocate for gender equality in the male-dominated restaurant industry. In her restaurants, she is known for running her kitchen service with more than 50% female staff.
A mentor once told me that in F&B, the most important thing to do is to never give up — and this is very true. To take anything to new heights takes sacrifices, tough decisions, and patience. I’m determined to do better every day and be the best version of myself, and it is a privilege to share my love for the cuisine. There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.
– Vicky Lau said in one of her restaurant's Instagram accounts
Karime Lopez, Gucci Osteria
After discovering her love for food during her art studies in Paris, Mexican-born Karime Lopez was catapulted to the world of Michelin-star dining, working under the tutelage of Can Fabes and Mugaritz in Spain, and also Central in Lima, Peru under Virgilio Martinez and Pia Leon. Lopez is now the Head Chef of Gucci Osteria Florence where she steered her team to reach its Michelin star in 2020. Lopez is the first female Mexican chef to win a Michelin star.
Along with mentor Massimo Bottura, Lopez curated dishes for Tokyo’s Gucci Osteria when it opened in 2021, led by head chef Antonio Iacoviello. On the struggles of women breaking into the industry, Lopez said:
Work hard and don’t give up. Be consistent, support your colleagues, both men, and women. Massimo Bottura encourages us all to do our best, and that’s something I want to say to everyone, not just the women chefs of tomorrow.
– Karime Lopez said to Florentine.net
Chef Chudaree ‘Tam’ Debhakam, Baan Tepa
Chef Tam is a force to be reckoned with in the field of Thai and farm-driven cuisine. After attending culinary school and working under Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill in New York, she ventured into replicating Barber’s farm-to-table sustainable approach in her native country while offering a modern twist to Thai cuisine. She transformed her grandmother’s home into a culinary space–which turned into the restaurant Baan Tepa which has a matching garden where she cultivates vegetables and herbs.
On her passion for sustainability and Thai cuisine, Chef Tam said:
Tepa Garden is a big part of Baan Tepa's cuisine. This is where we learn to grow and nurture our produce whilst exploring different varieties of local Thai herbs.
– Chef Tam on the BaanTepa Instagram account
Khun Nuch, sommelier for Anantara Hotels Resorts and Spas in Siam Bangkok Hotel
Nutawan Jumpanak or Khun Nuch is the first female sommelier of Anantara Siam Bangkok. Her foray into the world of wine is a testament to Thailand’s growing reputation as a wine-producing country. Khun received her Court of Master Sommelier Certificate (CMS) in 2017 and was appointed the first female Head Sommelier of Anantara Hotels Resorts and Spas Siam Bangkok.
I am proud to be representing Thailand in the heart of Bangkok at Anantara’s flagship hotel, it inspires me to be a great Thai Sommelier with a modern mindset and to prove that Thailand and Wine can go hand in hand together.
– Khun Nuch told Anantara.com
Reiko Yokota, pastry chef of Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto
After many years dabbling in patisserie–making since she was a child, studying at an American vocational school, and working in the USA, London and Marunouchi–Reiko Yokota’s hard work finally paid off when she was officially appointed as pastry chef at Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto in 2016. Head pastry chefs in Japan are mostly male, but Yokota is carving a path as a woman in this profession in her native Japan.
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