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The Best Women-led Restaurants Worldwide

Women-led restaurants offer creative and innovative food offerings as women chefs showcase their culinary flair and curation in highlighting their best dishes through a digital QR code menu and their other online ordering pages.

Featuring female chefs and restaurateurs, discover how these women began to take on prominent roles in the industry and learn from their inspiring journey.

History of women in the restaurant industry

Women in restaurants
Woman pouring tea in the cup

According to the Boston Hospitality Review, women have historically been underrepresented in the restaurant industry, let alone as owners and operators. This is due to the perception that such behaviors were indecent and unladylike.  Sam Online FTP Server

For many years, public dining establishments were even divided by gender to uphold and safeguard the reputations of restaurants led by women.

It was during the 19th century that public eateries accommodated women to work with them. From being patrons, women started in the back-of-house operations as cooks and also as waitstaff.

In the early 20th century, culinary schools began to offer training programs for women—taking part in the changing attitudes towards growth and inclusivity for women.

These culinary schools helped professionalize the industry and provided more opportunities for women to excel in Hospitality. 

There is no doubt that women are fully capable of holding leading roles in the restaurant and hospitality industry today, but there is still a long way to go.

Only 25.8% of all chefs and only 43.7% of all restaurant owners in the United States are female, according to Zippia. A number that represents a community of empowerment and candor. 

These personalities are today’s best female-led restaurants and chefs in the industry – carving their brands, creating the best recipes to include in a QR code menu, and paying tribute to the ancestors of women-owned restaurant history.

Who are the top female chefs?

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Woman chef drizzling dressing on the salad

Today, women are gaining prominence in the restaurant industry as they showcase their skills and talents. They are proof that women are equally capable as men.

Get to know who are the top female chefs of this era and their achievements.

Leonor Espinosa

Leonor Espinosa is a multi-awarded Colombian chef who never had any official training. Her restaurant, Leo Cocina y Cava, features a fusion of traditional and modern Colombian cuisine. Her profound and unique cooking style paved the way for her restaurant to be recognized, as it became the first Colombian establishment to secure a spot in The World’s Best Restaurants in 2019.

She proved her talent more in the field of gastronomy when she was named Latin America’s best female chef in 2017. Five years later, she received The World’s Best Female Chef Award 2022, sponsored by Nude Glass.

Julia Child

Julia Child is famous for bringing French cuisine to the Americans. She hosted her own cooking show and other television series—giving tips for preparing and cooking French dishes—making her a famous celebrity chef.

She also authored the book, ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’, which echoes her passion for French food. 

Julia Child has left a legacy of culinary art education, inspiring people to share her love of food and cooking.

Helena Rizzo

Helena Rizzo is a Brazilian chef who runs the Mani Restaurant. Together with her husband, she blends Brazilian and European cuisine in her kitchen. Since its initial publication in 2015, the restaurant has held one star in Michelin’s Brazil guidebook.

And in 2014, Mani was ranked 36th on the list of the best restaurants in the world. 

In the same year, Helena was named the ‘Best Female Chef’ by the World’s 50 Best Organizations.

Elena Arzak

Elena Arzak is a famous Basque chef who comes from a family of chefs. She is currently the head chef of Arzak, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant, which she runs alongside her father Juan Mari Arzak. 

In 2012, she won the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef Award.

Nadia Santini

Nadia Santini is an award-winning Italian chef and the proud owner of Del Pescatore restaurant, which has held three Michelin stars since 1996. She’s the first female Italian chef to achieve this honor. 

In 2013, she bagged the ‘Best Female Chef’ award by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. 

Elizabeth Falkner

Elizabeth Falkner is a known American culinary artist, author, restaurateur, and award-winning celebrity chef. 

She has competed and served as a judge on reality television cooking competition shows for Food Network, Cooking Channel, Bravo Network, and many others.

Elizabeth opened her first restaurant, Citizen Cake in 1997. After a decade, she opened San Francisco and New York restaurants.

April Bloomfield

April Bloomfield is a British chef and the owner of two Michelin-star restaurants: The Spotted Pig and The Breslin Bar & Dining Room.

But before reaching the pinnacle of her career, she worked at several restaurants, including Chez Panisse, Bibendum, River Cafe, and Kensington Palace.

Her experiences and dedication made her one of ten female chefs in America with a Michelin star in the 2012 Michelin Guide.

Alice Waters

Alice Waters is an American chef, author, and proprietor of  Chez Panisse. She’s an advocate of cooking with the freshest ingredients that are produced locally and sustainably. 

Her iconic ‘Baked Goat Cheese with Garden Lettuce’ made her as popular as people considered it a timeless classic.

In 1992, Alice received the James Beard Award as the Best Chef in America, making her the first woman to receive the accolade.

Lanshu Chen

Lanshu Chen received her training at the Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts and is renowned for her unique cooking style. 

She is the owner and executive chef of the famous Le Mout Restaurant Taiwan, which is included in the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018. Her dishes are an ultimate combination of traditional French and Taiwanese cuisine.

Lanshu Chen received Veuve Clicquot Asia’s Best Female Chef award in 2014.  Her achievements inspired other chefs who aspired to excellent culinary practices.

Clare Smyth

Clare Smyth is one of the many female entrepreneurs and the first and only woman to run a restaurant with three Michelin stars. She is the owner of Core by Clare Smyth in London and Oncore by Clare Smyth in Australia. 

Clare Smyth was also a former chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and has appeared on television programs such as Masterchef and Saturday Kitchen

She is also a recipient of prestigious awards such as ‘National Chef of the Year’ of Good Food Guide, the Chef Award during The Cateys Award in 2016, World’s Best Chef 2018 by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, and many more.

Sarah Barber

Sarah Barber is renowned for her exemplary pastry skills. She became an expert at her craft with her experiences at 5-star luxury hotels and Michelin-star restaurants.

Sarah’s grandfather, who was a chef at Hotel Cafe Royal, was her greatest inspiration; it motivated her to follow a career in food. And today, she was the first female executive pastry chef at the Hotel Café Royal and oversaw the opening of the establishment’s first dessert restaurant.

Catherine Ann Cora

Catherine Ann Cora is a world-renowned professional chef, cookbook author, and television personality. 

She was the first-ever woman featured in Iron Chef America. She was featured on numerous television shows, including Around the World in 80 Plates, My Kitchen Rules, and Family Food Night.

Catherine is also the founder and president of the Chefs for Humanity Organization. She was awarded Bon Appetit Magazine’s “Teacher of the Year Award” in 2006 and is currently the magazine’s executive chef.

Indian restaurants led by women

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Indian cuisine on the table

Sudha Kukreja

For more than 25 years, Sudha Kukreja has been a renowned chef. She began her career in the early 1990s by providing clients with special menu suggestions and building her brand among the Indian culinary community.

She serves on the boards of numerous international food companies as a seasoned restaurant and food consultant. In addition, she supported pan-Asian restaurants at the height of her career and is credited with introducing pan-Asian food to Delhi.

Unquestionably knowledgeable about food, Sudha Kukreja has a wide-ranging palate when it comes to culinary pleasures.

Yuvna Damani

Based in Bangalore, Yuvna Damani is a well-known chef, businesswoman, educator, and consultant. She has made significant contributions in the fields of culinary arts and hospitality management.

She obtained her Le Grand Diplome from Le Cordon Bleu and her Post Graduate Diploma in Hospitality Management from Les Roches International School of Hotel Management at the most prestigious culinary school.

The first patisserie in Bangalore, Spoonful of Sugar, is owned by Yuvna Damani, who has a wealth of experience in French cooking and pastry methods.

Ritu Dalmia

Indian chef and restaurateur Ritu Dalmia runs her own Italian restaurants in India. At the age of 16, she began working, assisting her family in running their Italian marble business. She frequently travels to Italy for work – where she has grown to appreciate and learn to cook the local food.

At the age of barely 21, she opened the Italian restaurant Mezza Luna in Delhi. And from there, everything paved the way for Dalmia to establish a name for herself. She is currently regarded as one of India’s most prestigious chefs and restaurateurs; she runs acclaimed eateries in Milan, London, and India.

Dalmia has made significant contributions to the sector and was honored by Forbes. She was also given the Ordine della Stella d’Italia, Italy’s highest civilian honor, and is one of the top 25 chefs in India.

Pooja Dhingra

Le15 Patisserie, one of the women-led Indian restaurants, was founded by Pooja Dhingra, who also serves as CEO. She is also an author, podcaster, and pastry chef in the field. In 2010, she discovered the brand of packaged foods and patisseries in Mumbai.

She received a degree in hospitality administration from Cesar Ritz Colleges in Switzerland and completed her patisserie training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

Dhingra was recognized for her amazing abilities and remarkable entrepreneurial path when she was included on the Forbes ’30 under 30′ list for both Asia and India.

She is an INK Fellow and hosts a podcast called #NoSugarCoat. Dhingra also published six books where The Big Book of Treats was awarded second place at the Gourmand World Cookbook Award. 

Kainaz Messman Harchandrai

In Delhi, Kainaz Messman Harchandrai is a well-known pastry chef. As a young child, she assisted her mother in the kitchen while she baked and cooked – she grew fond of foods and goodies.

When she was 16 years old, she traveled to France with the intention of becoming a chef. Kainaz received her diplomas from the Oberoi Centre of Learning & Development (OCLD) in Delhi and the premier hotel management institute, IHM Mumbai.

Before opening the first patisserie in 2004, Kainaz Messman Harchandrai worked as a pastry chef at the Oberoi Udaivilas.

Puja Sahu and Vivita Relan

In Shahpur Jat, a Bihari cafe was established by Puja Sahu and Vivita Relan. Their idea seeks to shatter all regional and cultural preconceptions by providing delectable treats and a wonderful atmosphere on a rooftop.

They named their business Potbelly Cafe, the first Bihari restaurant to open in Delhi.

QR code menu software: Streamlining women-led restaurants

QR code menu software: streamlining women-owned restaurants

Restaurants of any type, whether run by a woman or not, can use digital menu software to streamline their services. MENU TIGER – a no-code end-to-end restaurant solutions provider – has all the best features at the most affordable price for your business.

MENU TIGER is one of the best QR code contactless digital menu solutions that streamlines the ordering process of customers in a restaurant. It also improves the customer dining experience since it is interactive. Patrons can easily scan, order, and pay, even without the help of a waitstaff. 

It also offers cashless payment options through Stripe, PayPal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay, ensuring secure restaurant transactions. 

Aside from that, it also offers a daypart feature that allows you to adjust and create restaurant menu based on the time of day like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Other businesses even opt to include happy hour and late-night dayparts in their menu schedule selections.

MENU TIGER also offers these features to streamline businesses in the restaurant and hospitality industry, aiding women to provide the best customer experience in their establishments.

  • Manage multiple stores in one account
  • Offers QR code and online ordering process
  • Advanced menu customization features
  • Run multiple promo deals
  • Send out customer survey for food and services
  • Full access to sales and revenue reports and most sold food
  • Access to all multi-languages for menu translation
  • POS integration
  • Printer integration
  • Canva integration
  • Zapier integration
  • 24-hour customer support via email

Women leading the restaurant industry express empowerment

It is undeniable that these women-led restaurants are establishing a name in the industry. It showcases the diversity, creativity, talents, and inclusivity of female chefs and restaurateurs.

If you are one of the women leading a restaurant business, you can use a QR code menu to tailor your customer service interactions. This digital menu software allows you to maximize your productivity and increase sales and profits for your restaurant. 

Run a business with pride and empowerment using MENU TIGER. Avail of any of its subscription plans and cater to customers through secured and safe transactions. 


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