Women in Culinary Leadership Program

The james Beard Foundation's Women in Culinary Leadership Program

From left to right: Alison Settle; Raechal Maat; Goldie Radojevich; Guddia Singh; Eliza Martin; Shirel Berger; Elizabeth Kozemchak; Claire Veligdan; JBF's manager of student programs Shelley Menaged



Women in Culinary Leadership is an educational program focused on mentoring and training women aspiring to careers in the culinary industry. This exciting mentorship program began with JBF Trustee and restaurateur Rohini Dey and was launched in 2012. This program helps aspiring female chefs and food entrepreneurs develop their leadership and culinary skills through mentorship grantee opportunities.


WICL began with a panel discussion about gender imbalance in the food industry, held at Rohini's Vermilion restaurant in fall of 2012. Moderated by Emmy and James Beard Award winner Martha Teichner of CBS News, the panel featured Martha Stewart; chef and author Lidia Bastianich; founder and CEO of the French Culinary Institute's Dorothy Cann Hamilton; Ms. Dey; and Ms. Ungaro.




On Wednesday, June 25, the James Beard Foundation and Vermilion hosted the second-ever Women in Culinary Leadership All-Star Dinner & Panel Discussion at Vermilion in New York City.


Moderated by Food & Wine’s Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin, the evening featured thought-provoking conversations from industry luminaries such as Kristen Kish, Gail Simmons, Michael White, Rohini Dey, and JBF president Susan Ungaro, about how best to support and encourage the advancement of women in the culinary and restaurant worlds. A four-course Indian-Latin fusion dinner, including dessert by James Beard Award-winning Pastry Chef, Emily Luchetti, was served. For full information, read the press release here.


The james Beard Foundation's Women in Culinary Leadership Program


Women in Culinary Leadership Cookoff

As part of the James Beard Foundation Vermilion Women in Culinary Leadership Program, the Women in Culinary Leadership Cookoff was created to identify ambitious female chefs and restaurateurs and help them develop their leadership and culinary skills. Entrants had to submit a resume, essay, and recipe for one contemporary Indian–Latin dish. Eight finalists participated in the Cookoff at Vermilion restaurant on February 26, 2013. 


At the end of the two-hour competition, Eliza Martin was named the winner. She received a $500/week grant, along with a one-year apprenticeship at Vermilion’s locations in New York City and Chicago. She also spent one week training at the historic James Beard House, where guest chefs prepare one-of-kind dinners on more than 200 nights each year.


For more information about the Women in Culinary Leadership Program​, please email Diane Stefani of the Rosen Group, or call 212.255.8455.   


Women in Culinary Leadership in the News

Daily News 

JBF's Profile of Women in Culinary Leadership Grantee Eliza Martin 

Super Chef 

The Village Voice  



Photos by Joan Garvin