All-Female Chef Dinner Celebrates Women in Austin’s Culinary Scene

Photo by Sara Marjorie Strick

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This week, women’s robust presence in the restaurant industry was celebrated at Parkside gastropub in Austin, Texas. At an all-inclusive ticketed event, Parkside Chef’s Table | Austin Women in Culinary, a dozen of the city’s best-known women chefs and drink experts were highlighted in all-female-chef curated dinner.

The event started off with a cocktail hour, where two signature craft cocktails were whipped up by Tara Davies of Parkside and Tacy Rowlands of Midnight Cowboy, using spirits from Still Austin Whiskey Co.

Appetizers were also circulated, featuring savory cookies by Abby Love of L’Oven, country ham biscuits from Bonnie Wright of Olamaie, and Thai green curry chicken lollipops from Lindsay Flagg of South Congress Hotel.

A fun and popular touch was the roaming raw oyster bar — a shucker outfitted with an apron and two tin pails attached holster-style to her hips shucked oysters for guests on the move, complete with mignonette sauce.

After cocktail hour, guests moved into the second floor event space for the five-course meal, for which each participating chef created a dish inspired by a strong woman in their lives. Dinner was started beautifully with a hamachi crudo from Jennifer Nguyen of Parkside. Glistening hamachi was delicately placed in yuzu, with grapes and basil seed.

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Next came Jo Chan of Eberly with the second course. “I was raised by Filipino women who yelled at me my whole life… because that’s what Filipino women do,” Chan said to introduce the inspiration behind her dish, a pork cheek fried rice with champagne, mango, tomato and shrimp. They also apparently taught Chan how to cook like an angel, because the dish was divine.

The third course, a pork coppa with creamed greens and roasted grapes, was presented by Sarah Heard of Foreign & Domestic. Heard said that she had to go with pork as well because, after all, the logo for her restaurant is a flying pig. “And pigs really do fly,” she quipped, “because here we all are, celebrating a night all about women chefs.”

This was followed by an incredible cheese plate put together by Lindsay Flagg of South Congress Hotel and Kendall Antonelli, using a variety of cheeses from Antonelli’s Cheese Shop with accoutrements. The final dessert course was created by Natalie Gazaui of Ramen Tatsu-Ya — a sumptuous Salchichón de Chocolate with sabayon ice cream, figs, dulce de leche ganache, pistachio and tannat wine.

Throughout the meal, a careful selection of wines were paired with each course by Krista Church of Eberly, showcasing female wine producers.

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Austin Women in Culinary aims to bring awareness to the many talented women in Austin’s culinary community who have broken barriers and risen to the top of their profession in an industry that has traditionally been dominated by men.

“This dinner is about bringing a community of stellar women together to create an evening of excellence unparalleled to anything else we have had here in Austin,” said Juliann Stoddart of Parkside Projects. It was noted during the event that this is the first time in Parkside’s history that they’ve had a female executive chef, pastry chef and general manager at the same time.

Proceeds from the event benefitted the scholarship program of the Austin chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.

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