For decades, the culinary industry has been lead largely by men. But a report says one high-profile chef is trying to change that.
Edward Lee is an award-winning chef, author and owner of five restaurants. He says, “This is an industry that I love. It's an industry that I have devoted my life to. And the restaurant industry is just a very tough and high-pressure environment.”
In 2015, he founded The LEE Initiative, a nonprofit seeking to increase diversity and equality in the restaurant industry. Last year, the group launched the Women Chefs of Kentucky Initiative as part of that mission. “What we're looking for are young women chefs who are going to rise to be great chefs, owners and investors.”
Five female chefs from Kentucky were selected in the first year of the program. In addition to participating in group learning events throughout the year, each woman spent a week being mentored by an established female chef elsewhere in the country.
And while it is a new and small program, Lee hopes his initiative will stimulate a ripple effect across the industry. They're trying to use the platform to make the restaurant community a better place. Lee believed if he could inspire 5, 10, 15 or 20 young chefs would do the same in the future.