Our List Of Female Chefs and Culinary Pioneers

This Women’s History Month, we honor eight female chefs and pioneering women in culinary who’ve impacted the food scene in incredible ways.

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women throughout history. We’ve compiled a list of modern women who are making significant contributions to the culinary world and leaving a lasting impact on the industry. As a women-led vocational training nonprofit, all of us here at Sprouts Chef Training are eager to advance professional and educational opportunities for women in cooking and beyond!

Restaurateur & Activist Alice Waters

Alice Waters is an American chef, restaurateur, activist, and author. She is the owner of Chez Panisse, a restaurant in Berkeley, California, which has been credited with starting the farm-to-table movement. Waters founded the Edible Schoolyard Project, and serves as an honorary board member for Sprouts Chef Training, a nonprofit organization that equips young men and women to overcome hardship and launch culinary careers. Through her involvement with Sprouts Chef Training, Alice Waters has helped to inspire the next generation of female chefs and food professionals. Click here to learn more about Sprouts.

Photos Courtesy of Kim Thompson Steel

Chef Katie Reicher

Katie Reicher is the executive chef of Greens Restaurant, a renowned vegetarian restaurant on the San Francisco waterfront. Reicher is known for her commitment to using locally sourced ingredients and for her collaborations with local female chefs. In addition to her innovative cooking, Reicher is an inspiration to young women like Sisma, an aspiring female chef. Sisma had the opportunity to study in Reicher’s kitchen through the Sprouts Chef Training program, which pairs young people with chef mentors to develop the skills needed to secure and maintain culinary jobs. Chef Katie’s genius in the kitchen as both chef and mentor is revitalizing the industry, in more ways than one.

Photos Courtesy of Kim Thompson Steel | Lauren Unger

Chef Stephanie Izard

Chef Stephanie Izard rose to fame when she became the first female chef to win Bravo’s Top Chef in 2008. Since then, she has opened several renowned restaurants, including Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, and Duck Duck Goat. Izard’s unique style of cooking and her advocacy for women in the restaurant industry have captivated diners and activists alike. Izard actively supports organizations that promote gender equity and opportunities for female chefs, including Sprouts Chef Training. Stephanie is an inspiration to countless young women who’ll follow in her footsteps.

Photos Courtesy of Girl & the Goat | Boka Restaurant Group (No Rights Reserved)

Chef & Restaurateur Tamearra Dyson

Tamearra Dyson is an American chef and restaurateur. She is the owner of Souley Vegan, a restaurant in Oakland, California, that specializes in vegan soul food. Dyson is known for her creative and flavorful cooking, which helped her become the first-ever vegan chef to “Beat Bobby Flay”. She has been a vocal advocate for veganism and has worked to promote the wellbeing of her community as a Sprouts Chef Training Mentor Chef. By welcoming Sprouts’ youth into her restaurant kitchen, Tamearra has offered local young women like Delylah and Kayla (pictured below) professional cooking opportunities. We are grateful to work with trailblazing female chefs like Dyson to empower youth at Sprouts!

Photos Courtesy of Kim Thompson Steel

Three Michelin-Starred Chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn is a French chef and restaurateur. She became the first female in the United States to earn three Michelin stars when she opened her restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco. Crenn is known for her innovative approach to cooking. She has been a vocal advocate for women in the culinary industry, appearing as a speaker at events like Sprouts Chef Training’s Annual Gala in 2022. We thank her for promoting gender equality in the workplace and inviting her community to join in.

Photos Courtesy of Kim Thompson Steel

Nonprofit Founder & Youth Advocate Kate Rogers

What’s a list of groundbreaking women in the culinary world without mention of Sprouts founder, Kate Rogers? We’re thrilled to honor Kate, who started Sprouts Chef Training in 2006 with the goal of providing hands-on culinary education to young people from underserved communities in the Bay Area. The program combines culinary training with mentorship and job placement, in order to help trainees develop the skills they need to land their first restaurant job. We’re eager to watch the careers of Sprouts’ female alumni flourish as they apply their culinary training to careers in food and beyond!

Photos Courtesy of Kim Thompson Steel

Restaurateur & Chef Nite Yun

Nite Yun is a Cambodian-American chef and restaurateur. She founded Nyum Bai, a restaurant in Oakland, California, preserving the flavors and traditions of Cambodian cooking, which were nearly lost during the Khmer Rouge regime. She has been a vocal advocate for cultural preservation and advanced the careers of several aspiring female chefs as a Sprouts Chef Training Mentor Chef.

Photos Courtesy of Kim Thompson Steel

Chef Trainee Sarah Robinson

You may not have heard Sarah’s name in the culinary world yet, but this young woman is going to cause quite a stir! Sarah is a recent Sprouts Chef Training graduate, who made her culinary debut as a trainee at Michelin-starred Niku Steakhouse in San Francisco. As one of twenty female chef trainees to graduate Sprouts Chef Training program in 2022, Sarah demonstrates the dedication, passion, and creativity to succeed as a chef. We’re proud to say she exemplifies the leadership of a true advocate, encouraging her peers to seize opportunities for career advancement and skill-building. You can support careers for aspiring female chefs like Sarah with a donation to Sprouts Chef Training.

Photos Courtesy of Erin Seamans

These eight female chefs and food pioneers have shaped (and will continue to impact) the culinary world in their own unique ways. They have been vocal advocates for sustainability, health, and opportunity for young women in the workplace. We thank them for their innovation in cooking and social change. To support young women following in the footsteps of these groundbreaking women, consider a donation to Sprouts Chef Training.