On International Women's Day we celebrate some of the outstanding women who we expect to have a major impact on restaurants and fine dining in the years to come. From across the world - Latin America and Asia, to Europe and the USA - here’s our pick of those rising star female chefs to watch out for this International Women’s Day.
Chef/owner of Kle and Dar - Zurich (Switzerland)
Moroccan-Spanish chef Zineb Hattab - or Zizi as she likes to be known - has made a name for herself on the Zurich food scene in just two years. Firstly in 2020, she opened the city's debut plant-based fine-dining restaurant, Kle, for which she was named “discovery of the year” by Gault Millau, and became the first vegan chef in Switzerland to be awarded with a Michelin green star. Most recently, in 2021, Hattab opened her plant-based Moroccan restaurant and cocktail bar, Dar.
Hattab trained under some of gastronomy's greats, including Andreas Caminada at three-Michelin-starred Schloss Schauenstein. She continues to demonstrate the vision, talent and leadership qualities to cultivate her own culinary career, treading a plant-based path and empowering her dedicated team of like-minded professionals.
Listen to chef Zineb Hattab, and discover how she started out in a profession very far from being a chef...
Head chef at Cail Bruich - Glasgow (Scotland)
Scotland’s only female Michelin-star chef, Lorna McNee, became the head chef of Glasgow restaurant Cail Bruich in August 2020, winning her star a year later in 2021. In doing so she became the first chef in 18 years to earn a Michelin star in Glasgow.
The trailblazing Scottish chef and Great British Menu judge was recognised as one of the new talents of the year in La Liste’s top 1000 restaurants in the world, and named one of Observer Food Monthly's 'stars of the future' in 2021. She was also declared one of the 100 most influential women in hospitality by Code Hospitality, all signalling a glittering future in food.
Head chef at Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura - Florence (Italy)
Karime López is the talented tour de force behind Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura in Florence, which she has headed since its opening in 2018, and where she became the first Mexican female chef to receive a Michelin star in 2019.
Honing her skills with some of the world's greatest chefs - including René Redzepi at Noma in Copenhagen, and Virgilio Martínez at Central - she has since found the space to express her Mexican roots with Italian flair, and carve out her own culinary identity as part of the Bottura family of chefs. She is married to Takahiko Kondo, sous chef at Osteria Francescana.
López stars alongside Massimo Bottura in Fine Dining Lovers' Why Waste? series, transforming waste food into delicious dishes. Take a look:
Cynthia Xrysw Ruelas Diaz
Chef/owner at Xokol restaurant and SPYCA 2021 Finalist - Guadalajara (Mexico)
Cynthia Xrysw Ruelas Diaz was the winner of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2019 for Latin America, and represented Latin America in the 2019-21 S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition Grand Finale, where she impressed her competition mentor, Elena Reygadas, with her dedication to showcasing ancient Mexican ingredients and techniques.
Along with with her chef-husband, Óscar Segundo, who was named Best Young Chef in Central America and the Caribbean in 2018, she runs a small restaurant in the Santa Teresita neighbourhood of Guadalajara, Mexico. There the duo are committed to elevating indigenous Mexican cooking, from tacos upwards.
"I think through cooking we can change the world in a good way," says Diaz. At only 25 years of age, the young chef has plenty of time to achieve just that and even follow in the footsteps of her mentor, Reygadas, to become Latin America's Best Female Chef.
Instructor at the Culinary Institute of America - USA
Roshara Sanders made history when she became the first black female chef faculty member at The Culinary Institute of America since the school was founded in 1946. She is an inspirational figure in food and with a less than traditional background in food herself, she is well placed to achieve her ambition of changing the industry from the inside out.
Discover how she overcame poverty and hardship to become a soldier and a chef at the top of her game in our Freshly Squeezed podcast.
Chef/owner of Mena - New York (USA)
The 42-year-old Chilean-born chef opens her debut neighbourhood restaurant, Mena, in New York this week, which will reflect her native Chile as well as her culinary experiences in New York, Spain and Australia.
The chef, who took up residencies at US restaurants Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Fulgurances Laundromat in Brooklyn last year, was formerly of Gotham Bar & Grill, where she became the first female executive chef in nearly 35 years. She will finally have the space to carve out her own culinary career as a force for good and make her name on the city's culinary landscape. Watch this space.
Head chef at Casa Maria Luigia - Modena (Italy)
Canadian-born Jessica Rosval is head chef at Casa Maria Luigia, the luxury guest house owned by Lara Gilmore and Massimo Bottura. Rosval was named 'Italy's Best Female Chef' by the country's Guida dell'Espresso in 2021, and strives to create positive social change through her work with Food For Soul, and as the culinary director at a non-profit called the Association for the Integration of Women. With her outward-looking approach and ample talent, she is a culinary force to watch for the future.
Rosval features in Fine Dining Lovers' Why Waste? series to explain how to reduce food waste at home.
France candidate at Bocuse d'Or Europe 2022 - France
At just 24, Naïs Pirollet has made history as the first female chef ever to represent France at the Bocuse d'Or, a competition considered by many to be the most challenging culinary competition in the world.
In Bocuse d'Or Europe, which takes place in Budapest in March 2022, Pirollet's grit and determination will be put to the test when she compete's against nearly 20 other countries. If ranked in the top 10, she will participate in the grand final of the Bocuse d'Or in January 2023 during the Sirha Lyon to follow in the footsteps of Davy Tissot, whom she supported to victory in Bocuse d'Or 2021.
Owner/chef at Kinoya - Dubai
Neha Mishra's Kinoya restaurant in Dubai was named the One To Watch as part of the inaugural World’s 50 Best Restaurants MENA awards programme this year - a notable effort, having opened less than a year ago.
The entirely self-taught chef's quest to make the perfect ramen began with supper clubs, before overcoming imposter syndrome and taking the leap to opening her first restaurant. Having achieved so much already, the quietly confident self-starter is one we can expect to hear much more from in the next few years.
Co-founder and chef of Kausmo - Singapore
Lisa Tang is one of several women making a difference in Asia by offering excellent food with a cause, and challenging food systems in Singapore at her 16-seater Kausmo restaurant. Not yet 30 years old, she is following her pledge to encouraging positive change by having important conversations around the dining room table.
Here’s our round-up of the leading and most promising female chefs to watch in Asia.
Head chef at Chef's Table and owner/chef at Fat Fish sushi - Kyiv (Ukraine)
Eleonora Baranova is the young chef spearheading Ukraine’s fine-dining scene, unbound by tradition and not afraid to take risks. Though she has been championing local ingredients, she draws on Japanese, Mexican and Indian techniques and flavours. “I like to think that there are no boundaries in culinary art at all. My philosophy is a ‘no limits cuisine’," she says. With young and open minded talent like this paving the way for Ukraine's future gastronomy, the country's unique cuisine will be in safe hands.