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Let's Talk Womxn Entrepreneurs: Power, Parity and Positive Collaboration

About This Webinar

Join this powerhouse panel of women restaurateurs and entrepreneurs of Let’s Talk Womxn to learn best practices and resources to advance your business. Started for camaraderie, this action-led movement has grown to over 350 women-owned businesses across 12 cities, helping women owners build visibility, combine voices, build bargaining power and undertake joint economic and political action. These industry leaders will share solutions to help meet the current needs of women operators, their perspective on policies to promote parity, and how corporate partners and the successful men of this industry can be tangible allies.

This panel features industry leaders including: Rohini Dey, Ph.D., Restaurateur (Vermilion Chicago) and Founder of Let’s Talk Womxn; Charleen Badman, Chef, Restaurateur, and Let's Talk Womxn City Cohost - Phoenix; Ouita Michel, Chef, Restaurateur, and Let's Talk Womxn City Cohost - Louisville/Lexington; Anne Quatrano, Chef, Restaurateur, and Let's Talk Womxn City Cohost - Atlanta; and Jill Weber, Restaurateur and Let's Talk Womxn City Cohost - Philadelphia. It is moderated by Tom Bené, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association.


This webinar is approved for 1 Continuing Education Hour by the American Culinary Federation (ACF), and 1 Continuing Education Unit by the Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI). Please contact programming@winsightmedia.com after you've attended the session to request a certificate of attendance.

Who can view: Everyone
Webinar Price: Free
Featured Presenters
Webinar hosting presenter
Restaurateur (Vermilion Chicago) and Founder Let’s Talk Womxn
A restaurateur and proponent of Indian cuisine with her unique Latin twist, Dey combined her business credentials with her passion for food with Vermilion in Chicago and Vermilion NYC, in Manhattan for 10 years. To redress the “gastro-ceiling” in the culinary industry, Rohini cofounded the James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Program in 2011, chaired it, and was a JBF Trustee for a decade.

Rohini launched Let’s Talk Womxn in July 2020 and leads this initiative that connects over 350 women restaurateurs and food entrepreneurs across 12 cities, to counter the pandemic business crisis and to build scale. She is included in the 2021 Top 50 Power List by Nations Restaurant News and featured in The Today Show and Good Morning America for the impact of Let’s Talk.

Rohini has keynoted women’s parity and leadership forums including for Politico Women Rule, The Global Economic Summit by the US State Dept., TEDx, and NATO Summit. She has a Master’s degree in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics and a Doctorate in Management Science from the University of Texas. Before going entrepreneurial, Rohini worked at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. managing projects in foreign direct investment and privatization. At McKinsey & Co., she led projects with a focus on hi-tech, telecom and growth. Rohini writes policy, parity and business opinions for many outlets including CNN, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, and Crain’s Business. She has mentored chefs from Vermilion to compete on Iron Chef, Top Chef, judge Chopped, and open their own businesses. Rohini is a frequent judge on Food Network. Her entrepreneurial journey was profiled on CNBC. Vermilion has been lauded as Best Restaurants by Travel & Leisure, Town & Country, USA Today, Esquire, Chicago magazine, and Bon Appetit.

On a personal level, Rohini has two daughters, is an avid reader, loves dark movies, is a policy wonk, still loves to dine out, thrives on travel, runs daily (Chicago Marathon, Half Ironman), is an amateur chess and squash enthusiast, and has accomplished a personal dream - climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Webinar hosting presenter
President & CEO, National Restaurant Association
Tom Bené is President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association—the Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing the nation’s restaurant and foodservice industry—and CEO of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
Prior to assuming this role in June 2020, Tom served as Chairman, President & CEO of Sysco Corp., the world’s largest foodservice distributor, where he had previously served as COO, President of Foodservice Operations, and Chief Commercial Officer.
Prior to Sysco, Tom served as President of Pepsi-Cola Foodservice and held a variety of senior leadership roles over his 23-year career with the company, including President of PepsiCo North America and SVP of Sales & Franchise Development.
Tom earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Kansas and currently serves as a member of the University of Kansas’ Business School Advisory Board. He is Past Chair of the American Beverage Association and has served on the Executive Committee of the Women’s Foodservice Forum.
Webinar hosting presenter
Chef/Owner, Ouita Michel Family of Restaurants / Let's Talk Womxn City Cohost - Louisville/Lexington
Ouita Michel has always made locally grown ingredients a priority in her restaurants. That's why the cuisine is so good. "For me, while studying French and Italian cuisine, I realized they use local agricultural artisan products in their food. And that's why it's so good. That's why from the beginning of wanting to be a chef, I've committed to supporting local agriculture. Buying local is a tradition that our culture seemed to abandon for a few decades. I love cooking straight from the garden."

She and her husband, Chris, bought the Holly Hill Inn in 2000 and opened the fine dining restaurant in May 2001. Michel's use of locally sourced foods both helps sustain Bluegrass family farms and provides her customers only the freshest, best-tasting fine cuisine. The devotion to local foods is evident also at her other restaurants: Wallace Station Deli just outside Midway; Windy Corner Market, Smithtown Seafood, Zim's Cafe, The Thirsty Fox and Honeywood in Lexington; and The Midway Bakery, Midway. Michel's catering division, Holly Hill Events, shares Kentucky-sourced cuisine and hospitality with groups of all sizes.

Her restaurants have purchased more than $3 million of Kentucky-grown meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables over the last 19 years. Her reputation and commitment to sustainability have earned speaking invitations and awards from local, regional and national organizations.

Michel's work earns accolades from local and national fans of her cuisine. She has been a James Beard Foundation Award nominee as Outstanding Restaurateur and as Best Chef Southeast numerous times, competing against chefs in major metropolitan areas. Michel is an alumna of the James Beard Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, a collaborative for chefs who work to improve the world's food systems. Michel and her restaurants are regularly featured in local and national media, such as The New York Times, Southern Living, Garden & Gun, Food Network and Cooking Channel. She was a guest judge on Bravo's Top Chef Kentucky series.

Active in her community, Ouita Michel is a member of Southern Foodways Alliance; James Beard Foundation; Les Dames d'Escoffier; free community supper programs coordinator for Midway Christian Church; board member of FoodChain, a non-profit food incubator in Lexington, Ky., and founder of FEAST, a fund raiser for FoodChain that celebrates women chefs; Hindman Settlement School, which is dedicated to enriching Central Appalachian culture; and is a member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a statewide citizens group working to improve education for Kentuckians. Recent honors include induction into the Junior Achievement Bluegrass Business Hall of Fame; the Fayette Alliance Agricultural Excellence Award, Midway University Spotlight Award and the Bluegrass Tomorrow Josephine Abercrombie Award, the group's most prestigious honor, given to a person who contributes tirelessly to improve quality of life in the Bluegrass. She, Chris and their daughter, Willa, live in a 200-year-old cabin adjacent to the Holly Hill Inn.
Webinar hosting presenter
Chef/Owner, Star Provisions, Bacchanalia, Floataway Cafe, W.H. Stiles Fish Camp / Let's Talk Womxn City Cohost - Atlanta
Anne Quatrano has helped steer the trajectory of Atlanta’s dining scene for more than two decades by pioneering a simple principle—she was one of the city’s first chefs to showcase local ingredients prepared with precision and presented artfully. At the core of all her restaurants lies a commitment to the land and the inherent flavors locally and lovingly cultivated produce and products bestow.

Much of what she serves at her restaurants comes directly from her own Summerland Farm in Cartersville, and she steadfastly supports wholesome wave, local organic growers, and Georgia Organics.

Quatrano is a graduate of the University of Vermont and San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy and her career has taken her through fine dining establishments from the Bay Area to New York City before she relocated to Atlanta. She has won numerous James Beard nominations and awards, including “Best Chef Southeast” in 2003. In 2013 and 2014, Quatrano was nominated for the James Beard “Outstanding Chef Award,” and in 2013 Bacchanalia was nominated for “Outstanding Service Award.”

Outside of her restaurants and farm, Quatrano is very involved in culinary nonprofits, especially those focused on women chefs. She is currently a Director on the Board for the James Beard Foundation, Chairman of the JBF Awards Committee and has served on the Board of Directors for Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, and Georgia Organics, as well as on various committees for the James Beard Foundation and Southern Foodways Alliance.
Webinar hosting presenter
Founder & Owner, Sojourn Restaurant Group / Let's Talk Womxn City Cohost - Philadelphia
Jill Weber spent her childhood in Michigan City, IN longing to travel. This eventually led to a career in archaeology, landing in Philadelphia where she received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1992, Jill has worked in Syria, Turkey, Armenia, Oman, Iraq, and Italy. Along the way, she gained an intimate knowledge of these countries, their cultures, and native cuisines, which inspired her to open a restaurant back in Philly.

Building on the success of their first restaurant, Jet Wine Bar, Jill and her partner, Evan Malone, opened REX 1516 and Cafe Ynez, and are soon to open Sor Ynez.
Webinar hosting presenter
Chef & Co-owner, FnB Restaurant / Let's Talk Womxn City Cohost - Phoenix
As chef and co-owner of the award-winning FnB restaurant in Scottsdale, Charleen Badman is one of Arizona’s most celebrated chefs. A James Beard winner for Best Chef of the Southwest 2019, Charleen is known as the “veggie whisperer” for her ability to coax the very best flavor out of locally grown vegetables, which are featured prominently – although not exclusively – on the FnB menu. Her unfussy, yet boldly flavored menu changes seasonally, and sometimes even week-to-week with tweaks based on what’s currently available from local farmers.

Charleen and FnB have won numerous awards, including a “Best New Restaurant” designation by every major Phoenix news media outlet in 2010. That same year, Food & Wine magazine selected Badman’s braised leeks topped with mozzarella, mustard, breadcrumbs and a sunny-side up egg as a “Top Ten Dish.” In 2013, Charleen and co-owner Pavle Milic were inducted into the Arizona Culinary Hall Fame as “Best Restaurateurs.” Prior to opening FnB in late 2009, Charleen was the sous chef at Café Terra Cotta in Scottsdale, the chef de cuisine at the famed Lobster Club in New York City and the chef/co-owner of the Greenwich Village restaurant, Inside. Charleen is a past President of the Phoenix Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international organization of women culinary leaders, an alumnus of the James Beard Boot Camp for Policy and Change and the founder of Blue Watermelon, a Slow Food Phoenix coalition of local chefs and activists focused on improving school lunches.
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