The Women Who Made Us…and Those That Continue To Inspire Us
In the past, kitchens were dominated by men – chefs, cooks, bakers, pastry chefs, you name it. But times have slowly and steadily changed. More and more women have fought to rise through the ranks and become head chefs, head pastry chefs, and owners of their own businesses. This Women’s History Month we celebrate all women in the culinary industry, whether they be experienced executive chefs or novice cooks. Here’s to you!
The Boston/Cambridge area has a rich culture of culinary excellence achieved by women. From everyone’s favorite chef, Julia Child, to pastry mogul Joanne Chang, women set the culinary bar high. Where would our cuisine be without them?! One such chef to be part of the Cambridge food scene was our beloved founder, Roberta Dowling. Roberta started off in the 70s with a catering company and grew CSCA into the iconic educational institution it is today. The construction of a culinary school is no easy feat. There’s the financials, curriculum, day-to-day operations, and managing chefs, not to mention, if you’re a woman, there are surly more hurtles to jump. To persevere in the face of this massive undertaking is quite impressive, but when Roberta put her mind to something she was unstoppable, just like many of her colleagues and students.
We carry on what Roberta started with strong female Chefs and Pastry Chefs training the next generation. Whether it be in the Professional or Recreational Programs, you will undoubtedly learn something from a female member of our staff. Chef Jan will blow your mind in the Professional Chefs Program with the vast amount of knowledge she possesses, and her style is truly unforgettable! Chef Elise and Chef Sharon have encyclopedic knowledge of the art of baking, and will always have the answer to your questions. Chef Julie has the great task of overseeing all the students as the Director of Education, and she does not take that responsibility lightly. If you take a recreational class, you’ll find yourself consuming a plethora of facts from Chef Diane and Chef Meg and Chef Marie. Book a private event, and Chef Heidi will absolutely astound you with how interesting and fun she can make cooking for anyone, from novices to experienced home chefs. CSCA would not be the same without these accomplished women! They’ve passed down their skills to countless students, and we couldn’t be more grateful they are in our lives. They fuel the engine that runs this ship.
Our students benefit from these instructors greatly. As recently as this month, one of our former students was celebrated in an article on FoodandWine.com entitled “The Best Bagels in America”. Mary Ting Hyatt, the owner of Bagelsaurus, got her start here at CSCA, and we could not be more proud to have one of us out there in the culinary world making a delicious difference. The world needs to hear from more women like Mary! We need women to lead the way, and bring their unique perspective to the kitchen. We need James Beard Winner, Karen Akunawicz of Fox and Knife and Tiffani Faison. We need Ana Sortun and Cassie Piuma. These women, and many others, elevate our taste buds and bring us together to share much more than a meal, we share an experience. The only way to truly have diverse cuisine, is to have diverse kitchens. So not just during Women’s History Month, but all year long, we have to lift up women chefs and celebrate how much work they have put in to become what they are today – culinary forces to be reckoned with!