Stories / Impact, Scholarships

Applications are Open for Our 2018 Women’s Leadership Programs

JBF Editors

February 22, 2018


Photo: Clay Williams

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.”

Women in Culinary Leadership Program

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:

*James Beard Award winner

Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program

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. 

The deadline for submissions for both programs is March 31 at 11:59pm ET.

Learn more about the WEL and WCL programs and download their respective applications.

Read the full press release.