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Five of the Most Influential Women in the Food Industry

Food, it is something that we all LOVE to consume, but not so much the cooking part. There are some amazing women out there whose passions are to prepare these delectable foods for us at restaurants, and we are here to thank them for caring so much about the food industry and bringing people together over a shared meal.

Julia Child

“I don’t think about whether people will remember me or not. I’ve been an okay person. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve taught people a thing or two. That’s what’s important.” – Julia Child

Julia Child is a legend that we will never forget. She had a passion for cooking and even had a few television shows such as: Julia Child and Company, Dinner at Julia’s, Baking with Julia, and In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs. However, it was not just her cooking that made her so famous, but her personality. She was goofy and powerful (as she would always be making mistakes while cooking) and explained that errors can be useful from time to time. Unfortunately, in 2004, Child passed away from kidney failure, but her love for cooking still lives on. You can find her recipes and clips from her show on the PBS website. 

Ingrid Newkirk

“When it comes to having a central nervous system, and the ability to feel pain, hunger, and thirst, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” -Ingrid NewKirk

As a young adult, Ingrid Newkirk saw the horrors of animal cruelty, especially in the food industry, and set out to make a change. Newkirk founded PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, in 1980. Since PETA was founded and as the president, Newkirk has made PETA into one of the world’s largest animal rights organizations. Decades later, Newkirk continues to fight for animal rights while promoting how to live a healthy life without using many animal products. You can learn more about PETA and Newkirk’s accomplishments on PETA’s website

Cat Cora

“I launched Chefs for Humanity, a national nonprofit, with my voice, heart and money from my own pocket. Money gives you the ability to make a difference in the world and, when used in a positive way, is a lot of fun.” -Cat Cora

Cat Cora has become one of the most well-rounded and world-renowned female chefs in the industry. Cora made history in 2005 when she became the first female Iron Chef on the Food Network show, Iron Chef America. Since that moment, Cora has revolutionized the predominantly male industry. Aside from being the first Iron Chef, Cora was also the first woman inducted into The American Academy of Chefs Culinary Hall of Fame. Cora did not let anyone get in her way while trying to navigate the culinary industry as a woman. You can learn all about Cora’s accomplishments and the impact she has had on the industry on her website

Alice Waters

“Food culture is like listening to the Beatles – it’s international, it’s very positive, it’s inventive and creative.” -Alice Walter

Waters is different in the fact that not only does she have a fantastic love for food, but she will fight for it. She is a food activist and played a considerable role in the slow food movement, which advocated for people to start eating local and fresh instead of fast foods. In 1971, Waters and her friend Lindsey Shere opened up the restaurant, Chez Panisse. The first eight years of business were tough, as it was not easy to serve locally grown and organic foods while trying to stay on budget. Things finally started to turn around for Waters and her restaurant. She was even able to create the Chez Panisse foundation that gave money to education programs that taught their students about accountable agriculture. At the age of 75, today, she is still trying to contribute to activism as well as share her love for cooking and eating smart!

Anne Burrell

“I started in the restaurant business at the age of 19 as a waitress. I loved the atmosphere and the camaraderie of the restaurant business. I loved not having to go to the office. I loved making people happy.” -Anne Burell

You can find many articles about this talented chef’s tips, recipes, and intriguing interviews on The Food Network’s website. Burrell is 50-years-old and has been so influential to the food world thus far in her career. She has studied the traditions of Italian cuisine in Italy, which had led her to work at some of the most excellent restaurants in New York City, like Felidia and Savoy. The Food Network describes her cooking style as “rustic food made with pure and simple ingredients with intense flavors.” Burell took off three years and taught at the Institute of Culinary Education, but decided to go back into the restaurant industry. She now hosts the two shows, Worst Cooks in America and Vegas Chef Prizefight, as she continues to spread her passion for cooking and food across America. 

These people are not the only women who can make a difference in the food industry. If you have a passion for food, get out there and show the world what you got!

Belle Mead

CU Boulder '21

Belle Mead grew up in Manasquan, New Jersey, and for the past four years, attended at The University of Colorado Boulder. She majored in Journalism and minored in Creative Writing. Belle absolutely loves photography, fashion, and traveling. In the future, Belle aspires to write for Cosmopolitan or any lifestyle based magazine. She was also apart of the sorority, Alpha Chi Omega and the photography club at CU. 
Isabella Silber

CU Boulder '22

Isabella is a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is a Strategic Communication major with an emphasis in Public Relations and a Journalism minor. When she is not flipping through fashion magazines, she can be found obsessing over a pair of sneakers, running up the Flatirons, and reading in a nearby coffee shop.
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