Restaurateur Barbara Lynch
discussed her self-promotion awakening in her interview with Time Magazine regarding their controversial all male chef cover titled "The Gods of Food" in 2013. She said, "I used to think the fame part was a pain in the ass. I thought it took too much and it was too phony. Now I will grasp the fame and the public image because I think I can inspire people." She adds, "It's not about me anymore. It's about the next generation. We need more women in this business."
But even the picture I painted for you in my introduction originated from a forgotten female Chinese chef, Buwei Yang Chao
, credited for teaching Americans how to stir fry. A physician by trade, Chao immigrated to America in 1921, and was relentless in her pursuit of authentic Chinese cooking. She wrote a cookbook entitled, "How to Cook and Eat in Chinese
," and in it, didn't compromise her standards and did not try to pander to the American palette. However, in spite of her place in American food history, Chao remains forgotten.
The breath of a wok, so prevalent in my childhood, now takes on much more meaning as I consider the work and legacy of chef Buwei Yang Chao. Previously a reminder to pursue excellence through demonstrating hard work, now it is a call to action–a demonstration. As CMO of inKind, the hissing sound and vibrant food now remind me to rise up and lead, to take up that burden, and to help grow the next generation of women in the restaurant and food service industry through storytelling, mentorship, and
positive demonstration.Today, in honor of International Women's Day, join me and inKind as we celebrate the important women—both past and present, both known and unknown—who have made an outsized impact in the restaurant industry.
Let's rediscover, let's demonstrate, let's make noise, and let's sizzle to honor the female chefs who have paved the way for us all.