Female connoisseurs – women power in the kitchen, the cellar, and the field
“Women are entering the food industry.” That’s how the Food Report 2018 summarized a trend that has since continued to grow, particularly in the organic sector. To start with, more and more women are poised to reclaim the place that has always been relegated to them by men: the kitchen – though not as housewives but as chefs. Female empowerment is even more pronounced in the food start-up scene. In recent years, instead of waiting to achieve more visibility in traditional companies and institutions, many women have simply created their own representation. They’ve founded cafés and smart lunch restaurants, food factories and food-tech start-ups, usually with an emphasis on vegan and/or organic products and often with a firm intention to steer the food industry in the direction of health, social justice and environmental protection.
Women also pursue this goal in the kitchen. Take, for example, Andrea Gallotti, co-owner of Cologne’s “erasmus”, Germany’s first organic fine-dining restaurant, or Parvin Razavi, Gault&Millau Austria’s Newcomer of the Year 2023, whose Viennese hotel restaurant “&flora” turns fresh vegetables, juices and herbs into highly complex dishes. With a four-day work week and three consecutive days off, she’s also forging new paths on the organizational level that are greatly appreciated by her eight female employees.
Change is also in the wind for other sectors that are traditionally characterized by patriarchal structures, including the wine industry and agriculture, and especially organic holdings. Sabine Kabath, Vice President of Bioland, recently identified a shift in her farming association in which more and more young, female organic farmers are taking management positions.
In Germany and Austria, young, female winegrowers are receiving ever more praise from both male and female epicures. Most of these growers converted to biodynamic agriculture when they took over their holdings. One indicator that their numbers continue to grow is “Vinodea”, a wine store in Vienna that exclusively sells wine from (now 40) female winegrowers.