The food industry is full of powerful females (check out our post on women changing the way we eat), but we wanted to specifically call out three women who have inspired us. These women had humble beginnings, were told no many times by friends, family and peers, yet succeeded in paving the way for many-a female food entrepreneur that followed them. Check out the stories of Ruth, Cristeta and Jeni below!
Ruth Fertel had humble beginnings, but that didn’t stop her from founding one of the most iconic international steakhouse chains, Ruth’s Chris. She bought a steakhouse from a failing chain in order to make enough money to send her children to college (talk about supermom!). She taught herself how to prepare the food and run the restaurant and hired single mothers like herself as her employees. The upscale chain became a popular hub for the wealthy and powerful, and under her supervision Ruth’s Chris expanded to over 80 locations before she sold the franchise!
Born in the Philippines, Cristeta left college to move to the United States to pursue her dreams of being a chef. And she hasn’t done too bad for herself. After working in the Chicago area at two luxury hotels, she moved to Washington, D.C. In 2005, she became the first woman to be appointed as the White House executive chef. Yes, she now over a decade-long career of cooking for the President of the United States. Talk about the American Dream!
Jeni Britton Bauer
Jeni Bauer, founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, has been making ice cream for over 20 years! She was a trailblazer in the trend of “artisan ice cream,” an industry now worth millions of dollars. She began mixing ice cream with essential oils to create unique and different flavors than what was available in the market at the time. Jeni’s written two cookbooks, has won awards for her ice cream and has even been featured in Fast Company. Most recently, Jeni was featured on an episode of NPR’s popular podcast, How I Built This.