A look at some of the best female chefs in the world

PARIS, March 25 — The next woman to be named the world’s best female chef will join an elite sorority of colleagues who have carved a name and reputation for themselves in a distinctly man’s world.
Today, organisers of the influential and career-catapulting World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards will bestow the lofty title on an exceptional female chef whose cooking “excites the toughest critics”.
Since its creation in 2011, the award has raised a few eyebrows within and outside of the food community, which questioned the need for an award that sets women apart from men. Does it imply that women need their own special category? That they’re not considered on par with their male counterparts?A look at some of the best female chefs in the world
The subject grew even more inflamed last year with the publication of a Time magazine report entitled “Gods of Food”, an editorial package that drew much criticism for being conspicuously absent of any “goddesses”.
Anne-Sophie Pic, World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards inaugural best female chef – 2011.©Jeff NalinAnne-Sophie Pic, World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards inaugural best female chef – 2011.©Jeff NalinFor their part, organisers of Veuve Clicquot’s Best Female Chef Award say the award was created to shine the spotlight on female chefs and help close the gender gap.
In advance of the announcement, here’s a look back at some of the recipients of the award since it launched in 2011.
Anne-Sophie Pic: 2011
When choosing the inaugural winner for the award, organisers knew they had to set the bar high. It’s no wonder, then, that they chose to go with French chef Anne-Sophie Pic, the only woman in France to have ever held three Michelin stars for her restaurant Maison Pic, a 125-year-old, family-run dining institution in Valence, in southeastern France.
Elena Arzak: 2012
Daughter of Juan Mari Arzak, often described as the “master of Basque cuisine”, Elena is the fourth generation Arzak to take the helm of the San Sebastian restaurant Arzak, where she brings out the best in local ingredients using modern, innovative techniques.
Nadia Santini: 2013
The remarkable part of Santini’s trajectory is that she never received formal culinary training. Everything she knows comes from her husband’s grandmother, who taught her how to cook at Dal Pescatore, where Santini is now the matriarch. Santini was also the first Italian woman to earn three Michelin stars.
Lanshu Chen, Asia’s Best Female Chef 2014.©Asia’s 50 Best RestaurantsLanshu Chen, Asia’s Best Female Chef 2014.©Asia’s 50 Best RestaurantsDuangporn “Bo” Songvisava: Asia’s Best Female Chef 2013
At her Bangkok restaurant Bo.Lan, chef Bo is credited with elevating Thai cuisine into a fine-dining experience without compromising on authenticity. Chilies aren’t scaled back to cater to Western palates, while ingredients are locally sourced, seasonal and sustainable.
Helena Rizzo: Latin America’s Best Female Chef 2013
At her restaurant Mani in Sao Paulo, Rizzo and fellow chef-husband Daniel Redondo offer dishes that marry traditional Brazilian ingredients with modern culinary techniques, such as baked maniocas — a Brazilian root vegetable — served with tucupi froth (the juice of the manioc) coconut milk and white truffle oil.
Lanshu Chen: Asia’s Best Female Chef: 2014
Trained under some of the world’s master chefs such as Pierre Hermé and Thomas Keller, Chen took her knowledge and applied it to Le Mout restaurant in Taiwan, where she executes classic haute French cuisine, with an Asian twist. Foie gras, for instance, will be paired with salmon roe and ginger flower-infused duck consommé.
The recipient will accept her award at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants gala ceremony in London on April 28. — AFP/Relaxnews
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