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Women Chefs Shifting Power Dynamics and Changing the Conversation in the Food World

In this episode, I speak with Nina Curtis, Incoming President of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, Peggy Chan, founder of Grassroots Kitchen, and Sophia Hoffmann, author of the Vegan Queens cookbook.

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About Nina Curtis

Nina Curtis is a chef, culinary wellness consultant and Incoming President of WCR, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Organization.

Nina has been an avid proponent of a plant-based lifestyle for the past 18 years. Nina’s food and beverage background over the years includes working with the Marriot Group, Hilton Hotels, Baxters, Manhattan Beach, the El Caballo, Oakland, Pure Food and Wine in New York,  the Springs Restaurant and Wine Bar, Los Angeles and The Ranch, Malibu. With years of experience in food and wellness, Nina gives lectures, presentations, and demonstrations on health, nutrition and whole foods around the world. She has developed wellness training programs, set up kitchen operations and has worked closely in conjunction with culinary master gardeners to develop seasonal and gorgeous garden-to-table recipes that are essential to having a delicious plant-strong culinary experience.

An MBA graduate of Pepperdine University, Nina was also trained at Living Light Culinary Institute, Trinity School of Natural Health, the Natural Gourmet Culinary Institute and she holds a Plant-Based Nutrition certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutritional Studies, Cornell.

About Peggy Chan

Peggy Chan is the chef and owner of Grassroots Pantry, Hong Kong’s leading plant-based restaurant, which opened in
2012. Through “The Collective’s Table” pop-ups, she’s challenging restaurants and chefs worldwide to incorporate more plant-based dishes in their menus, to rethink food waste and environmental issues affecting the industry. Chefs like Richard Ekkebus (Amber), Margarita Forés (Grace Park), Michelle Garnaut (M Glam) have risen to the challenge. Peggy is a member of Global Shapers Hong Kong, an ambassador to the social start-up, Green Monday, and a co-leader and co-Director of Zero Waste Alliance HK, which champions food waste reduction and management in the city. Peggy’s efforts have earned her the title of Sustainability Champion at the T.Dining Awards 2018.

About Sophia Hoffmann

Sophia Hoffmann is a vegan chef, cookbook author, and food activist. The Berlin-based chef has been working in gastronomy on/off since she was 17 when she started out as a pizza baker. In 2014 Sophias first cookbook, Sophias Vegane Welt was released. In 2015 she signed with Universal Music and started her own YouTube online-cooking show under the same name. In 2016 her second book, Vegan Queens, came out. It features 10 opulent revised menus from her pop-up dinner series as well as 10 gastronomic businesses run by female entrepreneurs. Following up she started the “Vegan Queens“ Podcast in 2017 which is still running. Sophia has been involved in branded menu development for Berlin venues including Let It Be Vegan, Häppies, and Kochhaus (Germany-wide home cooking delivery service). Currently, she works to raise awareness for food waste and does Zero Waste Cooking Workshops at events like the Berlin Food Week where she is also on the jury of the annual Gastro-Gründerpreis.

Why You Should Listen

Nina, Peggy, and Sophia were in New York in March 2018 for the International Women’s Day dinner hosted at the James Beard Foundation by WCR. Not only were all the chefs cooking for the event women, but all of the food was plant-based. This momentous dinner marked the second all vegan dinner served at the James Beard Foundation and the first with all female chefs.

In this engaging and inspiring conversation, we discuss:

  • The experience of female chefs in the male-dominated restaurant industry
  • What drew each of my guests to plant-based cuisine
  • How they are working to fight stereotypes and change perceptions about vegan food in each of their countries
  • Strategies and advice for building a successful business and empowering other female leaders in the food industry.

Nina, Peggy, and Sophia are changing the way the world defines chefs and plant-based food. Listen in to hear more about delicious food and a ton of world-changing ideas.

People/Companies/Resources Mentioned in This Episode

#EatForThePlanet With Nil Zacharias Podcast Links