Louise McCready: Women weigh in

Some might be surprised that this year's JBF Awards recognizes women in food considering women have long been associated with the kitchen. Julia Child is one of the most recognizable names in food, but it's important to keep in mind that her audience was post-war housewives eager to make their husbands happy with coq au vin and mousse au chocolat. Before 24/7 food television, celebrity chefs, and best-selling kitchen-tell-alls, men ruled the kitchen because cooking was considered a blue-collar profession for those with few other options—an unsuitable profession for a "lady." Hopefully, this year's awards ceremony represents a change in public opinion and in practice. When asked what she thought about the fact that so many fewer females become chefs, Maria Hines from Tilth said, "I definitely hope this changes things. I think it's great that JBF hosts this event and gives us a chance to be in the spotlight." Jennifer Coco from Flat Iron Cafe sees the disparity in numbers between male and female chefs as inspiration. "I hope it doesn't change because people are always so surprised to see me! It gives me energy and motivates me!" Suzanne Tracht from Jar thinks the ratio of male to

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Meredith Arthur: Dreaming of Jean-Georges

When asked who she would most like to serve her lemongrass-cured salmon with Thai-marinated vegetable small plate to this evening, Jennifer Coco of Flat Iron Cafe didn't hesitate: "Jean-Georges!" she exclaimed. "That's the dream." I’ll check in with her later to see if dreams come true at the JBF Awards.

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Awards Watch: Gala Gearing Up

Backstage at Avery Fisher Hall the Steinway pianos have been moved into hallways to make room for hot boxes and other catering equipment as the 28 female chefs take their positions on the promenade for the 19th annual JBF Awards gala. The Women in Food theme is evident in the bright pink table linens and the explosive bouquets of spring flowers. Between the chef stations, thirteen female mixologists from across the country are setting up their mixers and shakers. The press room is halfway set—with step and repeat in place. What's this? A Hendrick's Gin bar in the press room? Should make for interesting interviews. Countdown is 26 minutes to red carpet (tented, sadly, due to rain).

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