They have established themselves as the leading ladies of the culinary world, and according to our research, are all out and proud lesbians. From the stars of Top Chef and Iron Chef America, to the owners of some of the most respected restaurants in the country, our Fresh Ten Favorite Lesbian Chefs are all working away to please the palates of lucky diners everywhere.
10. Josie Smith-Malave: Restaurant consultant, Top Chef contestant. Chef Josie from Bravo TV’s Top Chef earned herself many devoted fans during her season for her warm personality and obvious skills in the kitchen. Now, she has continued to prove her talent and developed a reputation as a straightforward, no holds barred kind of chef. Josie spends a lot her time working as a restaurant consultant and opening specialist – and to the delight of her Top Chef following – makes guest appearances on the show that put her on the map.
9. Deborah Scott: Executive Chef/Partner, Indigo Grill in San Diego, CA. When Scott introduced Indigo Grill to San Diego’s Little Italy she took control of pretty much everything – from creating the restaurant’s menu, operating both the front and back of the house, and developing everything from the logo to Indigo Grill’s unique décor. Her exceptional attention to detail and ability to create a delicious meal with just about any ingredient has made her a very popular and respected chef in Southern California and beyond.
8. Jamie Leeds: Executive Chef/Owner, Hank’s Oyster Bar in Washington, D.C. Jamie Leeds is one of Washington’s most highly recognized chefs due to her wildly successful restaurant, Hank’s Oyster Bar; very active role in the community, serving on the board of the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) and as President of the National Board of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs; and numerous awards for her culinary skills, including a nomination for “Rising Culinary Star” from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s Capital Restaurant & Hospitality Awards, a “Rising Star Chef” selection by Starchefs.com, and a nomination for Hank’s Oyster Bar as “Best New Restaurant” by the Restaurant Association of Washington.
7. Jamie Lauren: Executive Chef, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar in San Francisco, CA. Not just your average reality TV star, Jamie Lauren (one of the stars of Top Chef Season 5) truly is a highly respected chef and has made her mark on San Francisco – where she has received both local and national praise for elevating the cuisine at Absinthe, including being named as Restaurant Hospitality’s “Rising Star Chef 2008.”
6. Anita Lo: Chef/Co-Owner, Annisa in New York City, NY. Chef Anita Lo was born in Michigan and is a second generation Chinese American. She has never worked in any field other than in the kitchen – and her dedication shows in her food. The critical success of the 45-seat eatery, Annisa, has made Lo one of the most highly regarded chefs in the world. And, with the goal of building an empire in NYC, in 2005 she and business partner Kenny Lao opened Rickshaw Dumpling Bar, a fast-food dumpling restaurant on West 23rd Street, and they plan to roll out another six locations in the next two years.
5. Tamara Murphy: Executive Chef/Owner, Brasa Restaurant in Seattle, Washington. Trained in New York City, Tamara decided to move to Seattle in 1988 because of the Northwest’s bounty of fresh ingredients. It wasn’t long after that when she was nominated for the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year Award, selected as one of four finalists for the chefs under thirty award, and in 1995 named the Best Chef of the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. In addition, Food and Wine Magazine dubbed her one of the Ten Best New Chefs in America. Brasa is the culmination of Murphy’s many years working in the industry, and is extremely popular for its creative food and sensual ambiance.
4. Traci Des Jardins: Chef/Co-Owner, Jardiniere in San Francisco, CA. As one of the most acclaimed and respected chefs in the country, Des Jardins has been honored with numerous awards. She was a James Beard Foundation “Rising Star Chef of the Year,” one of Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chefs,” San Francisco Magazine’s “Chef of the Year,” and was listed as one of the top three chefs in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle each year since opening Jardiniere.
3. Susan Feniger: Chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, radio and TV personality. Susan Feniger and her business partner Mary Sue Milliken have made their mark with home cooking from all over the world. For over two decades, the chefs have transformed street foods and comfort foods into critically-acclaimed cuisine and established themselves as two of the country’s foremost authorities on the Latin kitchen. Feniger was also named the finest lesbian chef in the world by Out Traveler magazine.
2. Elizabeth Falkner: Executive Chef/Co-owner of Orson and Citizen Cake in San Francisco, CA, author, television personality. Falkner is without a doubt one of the most recognizable faces of the Bay Area culinary world and can be seen nationally on the Food Network, Bravo and beyond. She has been a frequent contestant, judge, and guest on Iron Chef America, Top Chef, Sugar Rush, Tyler’s Ultimate with Tyler Florence, Rachael Ray’s $40 a Day, Martha Stewart Living, and more. She describes herself as “a very California chef” with a deep appreciation of the Bay Area’s year-round abundance and her massive talents in the kitchen have earned her numerous commendations from both local and national media. And her spiky platinum hair is pretty cool too.
1. Cat Cora: Food Network’s Iron Chef America Iron Chef, author, television personality. Cat Cora is everywhere these days. Best known for being the first and only female Iron Chef, she is a also a regular guest on shows like The Today Show, Good Morning America, and Oprah, and recently made international headlines for her announcement that both she and her wife are pregnant. As the co-founder of Chefs For Humanity, the Executive Chef for Bon Appétit magazine, a UNICEF spokesperson, and the 2008 recipient of the Hero Visibility Award by the Human Rights Campaign, it’s clear we aren’t the only ones who think she’s number 1.