My own off-the-cuff answer would be the game changers in cooking and writing (and eating!) — the Julia Childs and Ruth Reichls. These are women who are synonymous with the words “food” and “inspirational.” You can’t watch Julia Child and not be compelled to try your first boeuf bourguignon. Likewise, you can’t read Ruth Reichl's jaw-dropping prose and not proclaim that you will become a better writer.
But these are almost “gimmes.” Yes, Julia Child and Ruth Reichl are the epitome of inspiring, but there are many other inspiring things going on all around us in the food community, even if you don’t realize it.
As a food editor, I am surrounded by inspiring women. I work with incredible cooks, accomplished writers and talented food photographers. What’s easy to forget, though, is that there’s more to it than the yummy recipes and pretty pictures you see gracing the pages of blogs. As bloggers, these women are highly influencing and shaping the food community and culture of today. Aside from influencers, there are food advocates doing important work, entrepreneurs building successful businesses and activists making a difference. And they all deserve recognition.
Our group of inspiring women in food was chosen by SheKnows editors, community members and participants in our signature youth education program, Hatch. Hands down, the hardest part of this initiative was narrowing the list to just 20. There are countless women out there doing such incredible things in the food community that we could have easily picked 100 names.
Amongst our choices are chefs paving their own way in a male-dominated industry, founders of organizations aimed at helping women, children and underserved communities, leaders in the sustainable and local food movement, popular food culture influencers, and creators of thriving and innovative businesses.
These women may have touched your life in some way without you even knowing it. That community garden in your neighborhood? The better lunches being served to your kids at school? The breaking down of stereotypes? The access to healthier food? You have this group, in part, to thank.
Next time you’re asked who inspires you when it comes to food, take a minute to think about the other aspects of it in your life. Of course, Mom and Grandma will always be appropriate answers, but if you dig a little deeper, you might see that inspiring women are all around you.
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