By KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — It shouldn’t take a day on the calendar to support women-helmed businesses, but what better time than Women’s History Month to highlight a handful of boss babes who are setting a unique spot at the table and inspiring other female founders in the modern food industry.
From chefs and restaurateurs to food publications and consumer product goods, there are no shortage of incredible women behind brands that boast big flavors and innovative marketing.
Let’s take a peek at five female founders whose companies you should remember, follow on social media and open a new tab for:
Longtime friends Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis launched cookware company Great Jones in 2017 and it has since become a household name for home cooks, chefs, authors and culinary pros.
“I needed to upgrade my kitchenware (no more Teflon), and I had trouble figuring out what I actually needed and why,” Tishgart told ABC News’ Good Morning America, adding that she wanted beautiful pieces that would last. “I wanted to be able to reasonably purchase them for myself, instead of waiting to receive them as a registry present. And I wanted someone to hold my hand through the process and make the experience of outfitting my kitchen joyful and fun.”
The brightly colored, sleek line of pots and pans was designed and named after famed female cookbook editor Judith Jones, who championed the work of Julia Child, Edna Lewis, James Beard and other iconic, diverse authors.
“She died at age 93 shortly before we started the company. She had the most beautiful kitchen in New York City and displayed her cookware like works of art,” Tishgart said. “It’s an honor to see our products in anyone’s home. It is particularly meaningful to have the insight and support of so many women in the culinary world. I’ll never forget Missy Robbins testing our products in Lilia’s kitchen, or Moonlynn Tsai and Jessica Koslow choosing to invest their time and capital in Great Jones.”
As for other females in the food industry, Tishgart named a few who inspire her.
“Klancy Miller, she just founded her own publication, For the Culture, that celebrates Black women in food and wine. Sana Javeri Kadri, who is building a more equitable spice trade through Diaspora Co.,” she shared. “Alison Cayne, who pivoted her Haven’s Kitchen cooking school and created a line of delicious fresh sauces. Elena Liao, who runs my favorite place in New York City, a Taiwanese tea room called Té Company.”
If Tishgart could cook or eat dinner with three women she said it would have to be “Meghan Markle, Oprah and the queen.”
Check out a few more female-helmed food brands Tishgart loves and recommends: Ghia, Brightland, Partake and Supernatural.
Co-founders and sisters Kim and Vanessa Tam created their company Omsom to start a cultural dialogue and bring bold, Asian flavors to consumers with starter kits that simplify cooking their culture’s authentic cuisine.
Aishwarya Iyer created the clean olive oil brand with artist-designed bottles in 2018 after looking for ways to improve her and her husband’s well-being and confidence in the kitchen.
“Brightland was born out of a desire for better, more honest food production and a deep belief in the land and what it provides,” she wrote on the company’s site. “I believe in the California sun and soil, and the beautiful olives, grapes and fruit they yield. It’s my wish that our products provide abundant nourishment.”
Diaspora Co. Spices
Sana Javeri Kadri, founder and self proclaimed “spice sourceress at large,” who was born and raised in Mumbai, started the brand in 2017 at just 23 years old and now works in close partnership with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research to provide ongoing support to partner farmers — who all practice sustainable agriculture.
Kadri has grown the business from just one spice to a vibrant line of individual spices, blends and even brand collaborations.
“As of 2021 we’re proud of work with 12 farmers and 320-plus farmworkers across six states. We pay our farm partners an average six times more than the commodity price, and by the end of this year we aim to provide health insurance to every single farmworker that is part of our rapidly growing supply chain,” Kadri said.
More than a single product, the Pineapple Collaborative started with a mission to build a community focused on women who collaborate in the kitchen, online and in real life starting with hosted events in Washington, D.C., to spotlight other incredible women in food.
Atara Bernstein and Ariel Pasternak co-founded and created the company in 2017 and have since launched its first products, The Olive Oil and The Apple Cider Vinegar, in 2019.
The group’s momentum grew and events expanded to New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and now across digital platforms with original content and contributors in a space called “the pantry.”
“In the last five years we’ve grown from a potluck in my house to an international brand and I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity of a lifetime: to build a mission forward business celebrating inspiring people who create a better food system,” Pasternak said in a recent Instagram post.
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