Top 10 Food & Drink Industry Women in Atlanta
Top 10 Food & Drink Industry Women in Atlanta
March 8 is International Women’s Day! Meaning, I have the opportunity to highlight some of Atlanta’s female food and drink stars. This article digs into the corners that make up the food and drink industry in Atlanta and the women that are an important part of it. Here I am featuring restaurant owners, chefs, caterers, a TV star, a brewer, and a sommelier. It’s important to celebrate these women’s accomplishments and all others. Only 170 years ago in this country, the movement for women to gain simple rights such as owning property and holding positions equal to men began. The women listed below hold positions which the women of 1848 could barely even imagine attaining. Congratulations to every one of you and the many more that I was unable to fit onto this list!
Her flagship store Bacchanalia (recently moved locations), she also owns Star Provisions, Floataway Café and W. H. Stiles Fish Camp. Chef Quatrano has a long and successful culinary history starting in San Francisco, then moving to New York, and several places in between before settling in Atlanta. She structures her food from the basics, nutrition and delight. She keeps her own 60-acre farm in Cartersville called Summerland, where 90% of the veggies come from for Bacchanalia.
Deborah VanTrece of Twisted Soul Kitchen
Chef Deborah VanTrece after years of globetrotting as a flight attendant, now feeds people comfort food that crosses cultural divides and languages. She is mostly known for her gourmet catering in the Atlanta area, which is what she started out doing and continues to concentrate on today. She started Edible Art Café (now closed) in an East Atlanta neighborhood which sparked to life the food scene there. This year Chef VanTrece was noted in the “Top 15 Bada** Female Chefs and Restaurateurs in the US” by Zagat.
Kathy Davis of Abbey of the Holy Goats
Georgia’s first female founder, CEO and brewer is Kathy Davis of Abbey of the Holy Goats Brewery located in Roswell. This is a small-scale craft brewery, creating mostly Belgium-style beers. At a crossroads in her life, Davis found herself deciding between working a goat farm and brewing. After several years of winning local brewing competitions, writing business plans, she created Abbey of the Holy Goats. A classically trained chef, her beers are created to pair well with food.
Marchet Sparks of Le Petite Marche
Established in 2008, as a traditional market complete with fresh breads, cheeses, pestos, locally made items, sandwiches, soups, and salads. This is a destination for breakfast and lunch and has become a great neighborhood hangout. Owner Marchet Sparks, had a hard time of it in the beginning with the recession in 2008, however, having survived, she has become the little market that could. Her father “pop” greets customers at the door, spreading stories, while her mother helps by developing daily soups, making this little market truly feel like a neighborhood home.
Linda Harrell of Cibo E Beve
Executive Chef and co-owner, Linda Harrell, has been working in restaurants since she was a teenager, with Cibo E Beve being the culmination of a dream come true. Her philosophy is “a tavola non si invecchia” meaning “the table is not aging” and “no one grows old at the table”. Meaning, there is no age at a table, only people, conversation and food. She has cooked at the James Beard House and been featured in many periodicals. Cibo E Beve is an Italian restaurant located at the edge of Sandy Springs and Atlanta, a unique combination of city chic, authentic Italian and neighborhood hangout.
Chef DeeDee Niyomkul has opened a new restaurant, Chai Yo Modern Thai. With this new establishment she is collaborating with her mother, Nan, on the menu. This will be the fourth restaurant to come from Chef Niyomkul and family, Nan Fine Dining, Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft, and the temporarily closing Tamarind Seed. Expect to find historical recipes made with modern techniques. She frequently visits rural Thailand familiarizing herself with the ingredients and hidden culinary treasures of this cuisine.
Jiyeon Lee of Heirloom Market
Chef Jiyeon Lee of South Korea started as a music sensation in her country, even recording several albums. Deciding to pursue a new direction, she put her artistic passions into cooking and learning western cooking techniques. From there she traveled and worked at the best hotels and restaurants that she could find. This love of food and the challenge of learning western skills while still loving that South Korean flavor has taken her to where she is today, Chef of Heirloom Market BBQ.
Savannah Sasser of Hampton + Hudson
Chef of Hampton + Hudson for the last year, formerly of Twain’s Brewpub and Billiards. She is a Pittsburgh native and former vegetarian, turned butcher. Chef Sasser is of the sustainable, local cooking and eating variety. She has shown off Georgia grown foods wonderfully while revitalizing classic pub fare. Hampton + Hudson is owned by a husband and wife couple in the Inman Park neighborhood, they have taken the neighborhood bar/pub and made it into an experience on all levels.
Linda Torres of The Whitley
Linda Torres has worked as Sommelier for (formerly Ritz-Carlton of Buckhead, newly rebranded) The Whitley, for the past 7 years. She selects all the wines throughout this hotel, whether served in the restaurant, the lounge or for an event. She has a masterful talent for pairing Old World wines with American and Mediterranean cuisine. This hotel has a history of being well-known for its wine cellar, and since Sommelier Torres has taken over the reins it continues that fine history. To try some of her selections, dine at The Trade Route restaurant or sip a glass at The Whitley’s Club Lounge.
Suzanne Vizethann of Buttermilk Kitchen
Suzanne Vizethann is a Chopped show champion, and has had her restaurant Buttermilk Kitchen featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The name of her restaurant coming from buttermilk, which is what is left over when making butter. This is a reflection of the chef’s philosophy that nothing should go to waste. A Georgia native, she grew up cooking with her parents and grandmother, giving her family recipes and traditions in Southern and German cuisine. She is known for her small simple meals, sourced organically and locally, and 90% made from scratch.
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