eat, slay, love
Boys’ club be damned! Women are making some of the biggest moves in the hospitality industry. We meet three who are influencing the way we eat, drink and enjoy good times
The women who are killing it in the maledominated food industry.
She honed her craft at London’s iconic The Ledbury and Paris’ two-michelinstarred Le Meurice, but New Zealandborn Analiese Gregory clearly has a soft spot for far-flung corners of the earth – she’s also done stints in kitchens in Laguiole, a remote village in southern France, and the city of Fes in Morocco. Recently, she handed in her head chef’s hat at Sydney’s Bar Brosé and headed to Hobart to take the helm at Franklin, in what was one of the industry’s most buzzed-about moves.
ON HER MOVE TO FRANKLIN:
“I’m excited to know exactly where the ingredients are coming from, right down to the flour and eggs, plus get seafood right off a boat and vegetables the day they’re harvested. I also now have the opportunity to play with projects I’ve always wanted to do, such as make cheese, bake bread, make wine and ferment foods.”
ON WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A CHEF: “Persistence, creativity and an ability to work with less sleep than you’d like.”
ON WOMEN IN THE KITCHEN:
“Women bring a different point of view, a sense of balance and a willingness to collaborate and create unity in the industry.”
BEST RECENT DISCOVERY: “The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery & Store in New Norfolk, Tasmania.”
GO-TO MEAL: “Comfort food – usually gnocchi.”
BEST DINNER PARTY DISH:
“Banana tarte tatin. I may have to change that now I’m in Tasmania.”
Miami-born chef Danielle Alvarez was raised in a household where “food was everything”, but studied art history before getting into cooking school, going on to cut her teeth at Californian favourites The French Laundry and Chez Panisse. Last year, she was tapped by hospitality giant Merivale to head up its latest opening, Fred’s, and has quickly shaped it into one of Sydney’s most beloved dining spots.
ON THE NEW WAY TO EAT OUT:
“Restaurants are moving away from fine dining to a more casual style, where people are having the best dishes, but not necessarily in a really polished, white-tablecloth setting. They can laugh, relax and have great conversations, and as a result, eat out more. It’s become part of our daily lives.”
ON HER LABOUR OF LOVE: “It’s not always obvious how long it’s taken to create [a dish] and how many hands have worked on it. I’m usually in by 9am – if not in the kitchen then doing admin, recipe writing, placing orders, etc – and we finish at midnight. Being organised gives me the freedom to disconnect on my days off. I’m ruthless about that – if it can wait until I’m back at work, I let it wait. I use my free time to catch up with friends, call my family back home, read books and get re-inspired for the week ahead. If I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t last.”
FAVOURITE HOME-COOKED MEAL: “My mum’s ropa vieja, a traditional Cuban dish with shredded beef, paprika, rice and black beans.” GO-TO MEAL: “Spaghetti with garlic, chilli and anchovies.” LAST MEAL OF CHOICE: “Steak frites, beautiful cheeses and lots of bread and butter.”
Paige Aubort has come a long way from clearing tables at her local pizza joint at age 14 – she’s made a Forbes “30 Under 30” list, was named Bartender Of The Year in 2015 and now has a firm hand in keeping Sydney’s nightlife alive, managing operations at Mary’s, The Unicorn Hotel and the recently reopened Lansdowne Hotel. She’s also the founder of Coleman’s Academy, a non-profit organisation helping women navigate, and excel in, the largely male-dominated bar industry.
ON COLEMAN’S ACADEMY: “The industry is still heavily weighted with men, and it can be big, loud, overwhelming and at times quite isolating. I think a lot of women face crippling self-doubt or suffer from impostor syndrome [as a result]. Coleman’s is an opportunity for women of varying experience to come together and take part in something created specifically for them. It was born from wanting more from the industry, as well as a drive to give back to the community that had given me so much.”
ON HOW TO RUN A BAR SUCCESSFULLY: “You need to be leaderly, organised, fair... and have the ability to count. In the service industry, a natural ability to empathise and an instinct to create a feeling of comfort also go a long way.”
DRINK OF CHOICE: “Red wine. Or an orange Bacardi Breezer, because you can take the girl out of Avalon but you can’t take the Avalon out of the girl.”
DRINK YOU LIKE TO SERVE:
“A rum old fashioned. It can be a lengthy process, which allows me to stand and talk to the person who’s ordered it.”
BEST RECENT DISCOVERY: “Au Passage in Paris oozes cool in the way that only a small, hip restaurant run by an older couple can.” q