International Women's Day is a recognized day to be discriminatory worldwide, taking place on March 8th, 2022. For this story, I'll be profiling the best female chefs in Los Angeles in a way I usually wouldn't: by gender.
While there shouldn't be a day of sexism, I'll think of this as Valentine's Day for a group I happen to be a part of. It's certainly not hard to see the impact the best female chefs in Los Angeles have had on the culinary landscape of the city.
To Chefs Nancy Silverton, Niki Nakayama, Genevieve Gergis, Sarah Kramer, Sarah Hymanson, Jessica Koslow, Alice Waters, Teresa Montaño, Margarita Manzke, and Mei Lin...here's your love letter!
The Chef that made carbs great again! From the humble beginnings of La Brea Bakery in 1989 to the Mozza empire in 2007; Silverton has maintained a level of popularity that's brought her Nancy's Chopped Salad to a national distribution level! Locals can still delight in new discoveries though; like Triple Beam Pizza in Highland Park and the Italian Steakhouse, The Barish, at the Roosevelt Hotel.
When a menu reads like poetry, the reservation is worth the wait. A meal at Chef Niki Nakayama's N/Naka transcends the simplicity of the dining room and makes you forget you're in L.A. at all. It's no wonder that over a decade later it's still one of the hardest tables to secure. It also holds the highest amount of Michelin stars awarded for this city.
Sarah Kramer and Sarah Hymanson
Meet the two Chefs responsible for the Californian Middle Eastern fusion movement a few years back. Kismet remains a staple on the brunch scene, and they've expanded to a downtown location as well. Meanwhile, the falafel stand Madcapra at the Grand Central Market will change the way you taste chickpeas forever.
Next, in 2020, they remade "fast-casual" with the kid-friendly, Rotisserie chicken outpost: Kismet Rotisserie.
The Chocolate Budino Tart by Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia helped make Los Angeles a food city to watch back in 2017. The Bar au Chocolat Bittersweet Chocolate Budino Tart remains a menu staple today as is her Paglova walnut and apricot pastry at Bavel, the Middle-Eastern restaurant she opened with husband and partner Ori Menashe in 2018.
Chef Teresa Montaño has been recognized by the World's 50 Best Restaurants Discovery Series and earned California acclaim for her restaurant Ración in Pasadena.
Listed as one of my favorite Summer Happy Hours, her 2018 restaurant Otoño put gin-centric cocktails on the map; and got everyone craving tapas instead of tacos.
Chef Alice Waters is responsible for the farm-to-table movement and her work at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California in 1971 created what we still refer to as California Cuisine. Fifty years later, Chef Waters has opened her first restaurant in Los Angeles, Lulu at the Hammer Museum, with a menu that changes daily based on what the market has fresh that day.
James Beard Nominated Pastry Chef Margarita Manzke is the co-owner of famed République, The Sari Sari Store, and Bicyclette Bistro just last year. While reservations remain hard to come by, you can easily pre-order pastries like Bomboloni and Brioche from the République Cafe any time of day!
California has been the butt of the Avocado Toast joke for some time now, and we can thank Chef Jessica Koslow for that. The veggie-centric menu changes daily at her Sqirl restaurant, but it's hard not to go with standards like the Famed Ricotta or Avocado Toast.
Nightshade, in Downtown Los Angeles, was one of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings of 2019 and one of the saddest pandemic closures. Luckily for us though her fast casual Daybird which opened in 2021 has filled the void with sweet Szechuan Chicken Sandos.