Applications are Open for Our 2018 Women’s Leadership ProgramsJBF Editors
February 22, 2018
The James Beard Foundation is now accepting applications for its two Women’s Leadership Programs (WLP): JBF Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL), a fellowship program for restaurant owners and food-industry entrepreneurs looking to grow their careers and scale their businesses, and JBF Women in Culinary Leadership (WCL), a mentorship program to provide more junior women committed to their culinary careers with accelerated front- or back-of-house training and access to business training.
For more than six years, the James Beard Foundation has successfully administered programs to improve the status of women and address the gender imbalance in leadership throughout the restaurant industry. Apart from providing scholarships and fostering discussions through industry events and roundtables, the JBF Women’s Leadership Programs directly invest in building the skill sets of women, backed by a committed group of restaurateur/chef mentors and advisors from across the country.
“Well before the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement that are shedding much needed light for women across all industries, we have been appalled by the structural limitations in the culinary industry for women and the abysmal paucity of women leaders in our field,” said JBF Women in Culinary Leadership program co-founder Rohini Dey, Ph.D., who is also a JBF trustee, and owner of Vermilion in Chicago. “It is our conviction that only ownership and leadership will truly change the narrative, enabling women to shatter the gastro-ceiling and break out of their pink cages.”
Established in 2012, the WCL program is a learning-by-doing, paid mentorship program that places women looking to further their culinary and/or hospitality careers with industry leaders, who take them into their own restaurants for an intensive nine-month training in either the front or the back of the house, and who financially sponsor their program. In addition to on-the-job training from their respective mentors, mentees also benefit from monthly check-ins and oversight of their training program by the James Beard Foundation. A highlight of the mentee experience is a one-week stage at the James Beard House where they either cook with multiple renowned chefs or work closely with the JBF staff.
This year’s candidates may apply for the following Chef/Back-of-House (BoH) or Hospitality/Front-of-House (FoH) programs:
- José Andrés*—Think Food Group, Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas (BoH and FoH)
- Kim Bartmann—Bartmann Restaurant Group, Minneapolis (BoH and FoH)
- Elizabeth Blau—Blau & Associates, Las Vegas (BoH and FoH)
- Kevin Boehm–BOKA Restaurant Group, Chicago (BoH and FoH)
- Kevin Brown—Lettuce Entertain You® Restaurants*, Chicago (FoH)
- Lauren DeSteno—Altamarea Group, New York City (BoH)
- Rohini Dey—Vermilion, Chicago (BoH and FoH)
- Tom Douglas*—Tom Douglas Restaurants, Seattle (BoH)
- Paul Fehribach—Big Jones, Chicago (BoH)
- Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken*—Border Grill, Las Vegas (BoH)
- Paul Kahan* and Donnie Madia*—One Off Hospitality, Chicago (BoH)
- Angie Mar—The Beatrice Inn, NYC (BoH)
- Ti Adelaide Martin—Commander’s Palace, New Orleans (FoH)
- Sarah Robbins—21c Museum Hotels, Louisville, KY (BoH)
- Stephen Starr*—STARR Restaurants, NYC or Philadelphia (BoH)
*James Beard Award winner
Launched in September 2017, the Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership program comprises an annual fellowship for a class of up to 20 women to attend a five-day entrepreneurship/leadership training program developed with and hosted at Babson College. The WEL program is targeted to women chefs/owners of at least one restaurant or food business, and addresses advanced business and finance concerns related to entrepreneurship, growth, and expansion.