Meet the Standout Chefs of the MAPP Conference
Uncommon Threads had the privilege of participating in the MAPP Restaurant Reset Conference this spring. The monumental event in Ft. Lauderdale, FL brought together some of the brightest women in the food and beverage industry. It was an honor to attend and join the conversations about female empowerment in food service.
MAPP stands for Mentorship, Advocacy, Pandemic relief, and Power of women. That mentorship was on full display at the conference in the form of the Chef’s Roll Center Stage winners. Chef’s Roll selected four up-and-coming female chefs to experience hands-on mentorship with seasoned professionals, plus the chance to show off their skills by cooking at the conference.
We want to spotlight these young women and the strides they’re making in the food world. They are the future of the industry, so keep an eye out for them in the coming years!
Chef Tanya Jiminez, Sous Chef at Pearls & Pineapples in Washington DC, was mentored by Chef Emma Bengtsson. She prepared a colorful plate of Jurgielewicz duck with mango vadouvan and spring ramp.
Chef Tanya says of the MAPP Conference:
“The best part of this whole experience was meeting [the other Chef’s Roll winners]. . . It made me realize that I’m not crazy, emotional, pushy, out of line, or alone. We’ve all had to deal with these issues, especially as women, even more so as women of color.”
Chef Soojin Lim is the Executive Sous Chef at Alexander’s Steakhouse in LA. As a Korean-American woman, she says she’s used to being underestimated or undermined in the kitchen. But meeting the other Center Stage winners helped her see that her experiences are not unique to her.
“I have, from this event, learned that I am not alone.”
Chef Soojin was mentored by Chef Mary Sue Milliken. For the chef showcase, she prepared a ribeye steak with charred spring onion puree, green garlic chimichurri, pickled celtuce, crushed fava beans, and a crispy potato nest.
Chef Sarah Betcher is a pastry chef from Virginia Beach who was mentored by Chef Emma Bengtsson at the Conference. Chef Sarah is used to working in a male-dominated kitchen, so her time at the MAPP Conference was eye-opening.
“I have not worked with many women at any of the properties I’ve cooked at,” she says, “let alone any of them being in positions of power. It was great to be able to relate to how they feel and to be surrounded by so many people who really just want to see you succeed.”
Chef Sarah put her dessert skills on display by making a Valrhona chocolate pots de creme with bourbon mango compote, black tea cookie crumble, and toasted Angostura meringue. Yum!
Chef Samantha Etienne runs her own catering business in Atlanta, Rose Catering. She was mentored by Chef Tanya Holland.
“The MAPP conference was nothing short of amazing,” she says, “filled with fun and good energy. It’s truly been a one-of-a-kind experience.”
Chef Samantha prepared Kvaroy Arctic salmon tartare with a scotch bonnet emulsion and mango puree, served with salmon roe, chili oil, and cassava chips.
P.S. You can be twinning in the kitchen with Center Stage chefs when you purchase a Vibe MAPP Bib Apron! Plus, proceeds from this apron go directly back to MAPP, providing more support for women in food service.