2018 Brooklyn, New York
The #MeToo movement revealed allegations of abusive behavior by several high-profile chefs and restaurateurs, sparking a national conversation about sexual harassment and gender inequity in the restaurant industry. But for many women working in that industry, the revelations came as no surprise. On October 1, 2018, FERN hosted a panel in Brooklyn of top woman chefs, writers and food activists to discuss the problem, and how to work toward a more equitable and inclusive future.
Watch the 2018 Highlights
Watch the Full Panel
Tracie McMillan – Moderator
Tracie McMillan is the author of the award-winning, New York Times bestseller, The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table. She writes about equity, the safety net and food for publications including National Geographic, The New York Times, NPR’s The Salt and FERN. She currently teaches a writing class, “Intersectionality on Your Plate,” in the food studies department at New York University. Follow her at @tmmcmillan.
Bartender and Activist
Ashtin Berry is a food and beverage activist committed to creating equitable spaces within the hospitality industry. She focuses on creating hospitality trainings that implement inclusive language that can be applied to everyday work.In 2018, she joined Bacardi to headline the inaugural Women in Leadership Tour, and has spoken at a number of conferences including Chicago Style, Toronto Cocktail Conference, and many more. Berry’s work has been featured in top industry publications including Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Chefs Feed, and Star Chefs.
In her forthcoming podcast Family Meal, Berry unpacks the systemic issues facing the hospitality industry alongside experts–which includes social workers, sociologist, professors, and researchers. This fall, Berry is taking her experience of conceptualizing bar programs and directing beverage programs, to open her very own establishment in New Orleans, LA.
Chef, Dirt Candy
Amanda Cohen is the chef and owner of Dirt Candy, the award-winning vegetable restaurant on New York City’s Lower East Side. Dirt Candy was the first vegetable-focused restaurant in the city and the leader of the vegetable-forward movement. The restaurant’s original location only had 18 seats and was open for seven years, during which time it became the first vegetarian restaurant in 17 years to receive two stars from The New York Times, was recognized by the Michelin Guide five years in a row, and won awards from Gourmet Magazine, the Village Voice, and many others. Its new location opened in January, 2015 and it was the first restaurant in the city to eliminate tipping and share profits with its employees. Amanda was the first vegetarian chef to compete on Iron Chef America and her comic book cookbook, Dirt Candy: A Cookbook, is the first graphic novel cookbook to be published in North America. It’s currently in its seventh printing. She is also a Canadian. In 2018, New York Magazine named Dirt Candy “The Absolute Best Restaurant on the Lower East Side.”
Alana McMillan is one of the co-founders of JaynesBeard, a next-level culinary experience for lesbian and queer women in New York City. JaynesBeard produces private, pop-up events that range from cocktail parties to multi-course, plated meals (and everything in between.) These dinners highlight up-and-coming, mostly queer and female chefs and bartenders. JaynesBeard has been featured in The New York Times, Cherry Bombe and Jarry Magazine.
Author, former The New York Times dining critic and Gourmet editor
Ruth Reichl is the author of My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life, a cookbook published in September 2015. She was Editor in Chief of Gourmet Magazine from 1999 to 2009. Before that she was the restaurant critic of both The New York Times (1993-1999) and the Los Angeles Times (1984-1993), where she was also named food editor. As co-owner of The Swallow Restaurant from 1974 to 1977, she played a part in the culinary revolution that took place in Berkeley, California. In the years that followed, she served as restaurant critic for New West and California magazines. Reichl began writing about food in 1972, when she published Mmmmm: A Feastiary. She is the editor of The Modern Library Food Series, which currently includes 10 books. She is Executive Producer and host of the public television series, Adventures with Ruth. She is also a producer on the Fox 2000 movie, Garlic and Sapphires.