To celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’m using the blog to shine a light on some of the amazing women in the world of food today. Picking just 8 was difficult, and this is by no means an exhaustive list. Instead, it’s an insight into some of the women who are currently inspiring me and my colleagues in the kitchen, whether that’s through their cookbooks, their food writing or their videos.
I’m dying to know about more of them! Let me know who your favourites are over on social.
— Polly, Senior Communications Executive
Kicking things off with one of our (and your!) favourite contributors, Poppy O’Toole. After losing her job during the pandemic, Poppy started making cooking videos on a little platform called Tiktok. And since then she’s had a stratospheric rise to over 2 million followers on TikTok, as well as releasing her own cookbook and appearing on a certain popular YouTube channel… With bags of personality and a contagious laugh, it’s not hard to see why! She’s a must-follow for everything potato.
If you don’t know about Ixta, you should. Her cooking is a vivacious fusion of flavours from Italy, Brazil and Mexico, resulting in food that pushes the boundaries of every expectation. She has impressive credentials, too – the London-based cook started out at Ottolenghi’s NOPI before moving on to work in his Test Kitchen for five years. She co-authored his bestselling Flavour cookbook and is publishing her first cookbook, Mexcla, in July of this year!
3. Ravneet Gill
We met Rav Gill last year when she came in to judge the boys on their strawberry mousse and Viennese whirl skills. She quickly put them to shame and… awarded them no badges. Then again, she has been a pastry chef for eight years, she is a judge on Junior Bake Off and the author of two cookbooks. Oh, and she also founded Countertalk, an initiative that strives to promote and highlight healthy environments in the food world. It’s safe to say you should keep an eye on this tour de force.
4. Clare Finney
If ever there was a book for today, it would have to be food writer Clare Finney’s The Female Chef. Her debut book is an ode to ‘30 women redefining the British food scene’, addressing the historic gender imbalance in professional kitchens. She’s also done some wonderful writing on subjects ranging from tinned fish to cheese.
5. Zoe Adjonyoh
Chef Zoe Adjonyoh is the brains behind Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, a mission that she began in 2010 ‘to start an African Food Revolution and bring African foods to the masses’. Since then, she’s been very busy doing just that. She’s written a cookbook, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, she’s got a spice shop, and she’s currently crowdfunding for her next book, Serving Up: Essays on Food, Identity and Culture. Get involved.
If you like a food newsletter, you’ll love Alicia Kennedy. The Puerto Rico-based writer sends out the excellent ‘From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy’ on a weekly basis, covering themes as expansive as routine, pumpkin and the problems with the phrase ‘plant-based’.
Ravinder Bhogal is the uber talented chef and owner of Jikoni in London, a ‘mixed heritage’ restaurant with influences from Asia, The Middle East, East Africa and Britain that is inspired by Bhogal’s own mixed heritage. She’s also a columnist for several publications, while her Jikoni cookbook is a fabulously playful celebration of ‘inauthentic’ cooking.
Romania-based food creative Carolina Gelen consistently serves up some of the best-looking food on Instagram. Her recipes, often complete with quirky how-to videos featuring Carolina herself, offer a bright and exciting look at Eastern European influences, and we challenge you to not be tempted by some of her sweet treats.