International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year and was originally called International Working Women’s Day. It’s celebrated in different regions with the focus being on respect, appreciation, and love towards women for their economic, political, and social achievements.
Today in honor of International Women’s Day, I’m celebrating brilliant women who have made a name for themselves in the food world. These are some of the top female culinary contributors and chefs in the world.
We have to start by giving tribute to Julia Childs for her contributions to cooking and food for the home cook and opening up the world of cooking as a profession for women in America. She is the first woman to ever attend the French school of cooking, Cordon Bleu.
Isabella Mary Beeton
Before Julia Child’s, there was Isabella Mary Beeton, universally known as Mrs. Beeton. She was as the English author of Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, and is one of the best-known and posthumously best-selling cookery writers of the Victorian era. If it wasn’t for women who made their place in history, we would still have a long way to go.
Among our British Chefs who can give Julia Child’s a run for her money when it comes to French cooking is Anne Willan. She is the founder of the prestigious Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne, which operated in Burgundy France from 1991 until 2007. Inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who in Food and Beverage” in America in 1986, Willan is a recognized authority on French cooking, with more than 35 years of experience as a cooking teacher, cookbook author and food columnist.
Among the current British female chefs who have made an empire for themselves with their cooking talents in Nigella Lawson. She is the daughter of Nigel Lawson, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Vanessa Lawson, whose family owned the J. Lyons and Co. food and catering business.
In the world of gastronomy and cuisine being a predominantly male dominated field, and from a country like India where men put India on the global culinary map, comes Padma Lakshmi. Born in Chennai India, she has created a brand for herself an American cookbook author, actress, model, television host and executive producer. Her debut cookbook Easy Exotic won her the “Best First Book” award at the 1999 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. She is the host of the US reality television program Top Chef.
Gradually, an increasing number of women are joining the field in India. They are starting out young, and despite facing difficulties, they continue to work. Celebrity chef and restaurateur Ritu Dalmia did it in 1993, at the age of 22. She opened her first restaurant in Delhi, called MezzaLuna.
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich
From other parts of the world, Croatian born Lidia Matticchio Bastianich is an American celebrity chef, television host, author, and restaurateur. Specializing in Italian and Italian-American cuisine, Bastianich has been a regular contributor to public television cooking shows since 1998. In 2014, she launched her fifth television series.
A wonderful example of a woman who used social media and technology to give rise to a cooking career is Montreal born Nadia Giosia, better known as Nadia G. She is a Canadian cooking personality, comedic actress, and singer who transitioned her web cooking series into a TV cooking show. She is the host of Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen, which has appeared on the Cooking Channel, Food Network Canada and Food Network UK.
Tina Nordström is a Swedish celebrity chef, television personality, and pitch lady from Helsingborg, Sweden. She hosted the second season of New Scandinavian Cooking on PBS stations on American television, replacing Andreas Viestad as host of the show.
From Asia we have Taiwan born Ching-He Huang, who is a British Chinese food writer and TV chef. She has appeared in a variety of television cooking shows. Huang has starred in eight popular TV series and is the author of five best-selling cookbooks. She has developed a range of Ching-branded Woks, tableware, Chinese cooking and preparation utensils marketed by Typhoon Housewares, as well as branded exotic mushrooms grown in the UK and available through Tesco.
Rustie Lee has made a place for women of color in the celebrity chef industry. She is a Jamaican born English television personality, television chef, actress, singer and former politician. She appeared and participated in the Channel 5 reality-television show Celebrity Super Spa in 2013.
Ingrid Hoffmann has given the Latino world a female chef to be proud of. She is a Colombian-American television personality and restaurateur, who hosts the Food Network series Simply Delicioso and the Spanish-language cooking and lifestyle show Delicioso on Galavisión. Her cookbook, Simply Delicioso: A Collection of Everyday Recipes with a Latin Twist, was published on February 8, 2008. The Spanish version is titled Delicioso: Una coleccion de mis recetas favoritas con un toque latino.