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11 Stories Celebrating Women in the Phoenix Food and Drink World

Stories about female chefs, bakers, restaurateurs, and even food seed providers.
Stories about female chefs, bakers, restaurateurs, and even food seed providers.
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It’s International Women’s Day, the peak calendar date of Women's History Month, and we have stories to share about local female chefs, bakers, restaurateurs, and even food seed providers.

Let’s take a look back at some recent pieces we’ve released about women in Phoenix’s food and drink world — each heralding the "choose to challenge" message.

Baker and artist Monir Hosseini, owner of White Orchid bakery.
Baker and artist Monir Hosseini, owner of White Orchid bakery.
White Orchid Bakery

'With White Orchid, Artist Monir Hosseini Is Channeling Her Creativity Into Persian Sweets'

We showed up at the home of Monir Hosseini, owner of White Orchid bakery, unannounced, but she still invited New Times in with a big smile on her face (and rollers in her hair) for a chat. Hosseini is an artist and calligrapher, but her work wasn't accepted into Old Town Scottsdale galleries. She turned to baking and has been creating popular Persian sweets ever since.

Restaurateur Melissa Maggiore Meyer, daughter of Tomaso’s Italian Restaurant founder Chef Tomaso Maggiore.
Restaurateur Melissa Maggiore Meyer, daughter of Tomaso’s Italian Restaurant founder Chef Tomaso Maggiore.
The Maggiore Group

'Melissa Maggiore Meyer Will Open Her Own Restaurant This Spring'

Restaurateur Melissa Maggiore Meyer, daughter of Tomaso’s Italian Restaurant founder Chef Tomaso Maggiore, is opening her own eatery this spring (April, to be specific). The Italian Daughter Cucina + Cocktails will operate out of the Tomaso’s Italian Kitchen location at 23655 North Scottsdale Road, #120, in Scottsdale, as something of a piano bar concept with handmade pastas, Neapolitan pizzas, and even gelato martinis.

Jennifer Caraway, founder of The Joy Bus and The Joy Bus Diner.EXPAND
Jennifer Caraway, founder of The Joy Bus and The Joy Bus Diner.
Katherine Davis-Young

‘The Joy Bus' Jennifer Caraway Has a New Book and a New Beer’

Inspired by her close friend Joy, who died of ovarian cancer, Jennifer Caraway launched The Joy Bus in 2011 to hand-deliver meals to local cancer patients and their families. “We wanted to do something to improve their lives,” says Caraway. “Good food and a good conversation can help some.” She recently talked with us about winning Food Network’s Chopped, her new cookbook, her new Joy Bus beers, and her continuing charity work.

Charleen Badman, award-winning chef and co-owner of FnB, has set her eyes on a different challenge.EXPAND
Charleen Badman, award-winning chef and co-owner of FnB, has set her eyes on a different challenge.
Taylor Jade Photography

‘Arizona's School Lunches Are About to Get a Distinctly Arizonan Boost’

Charleen Badman, award-winning chef at FnB, has set her eyes on a different challenge: developing recipes using Indigenous ingredients for schools across Arizona. Though Badman has risen to the pinnacle of restaurant culture, she considers this new seemingly modest task formidable. Why? She believes it’s harder to develop a recipe for a school lunchroom than for FnB. Tamara Stanger, former chef at Cotton & Copper, is also assisting with children's midday meals.

Tamara Stanger of Cotton & Copper is headed to Utah but will keep some roots in the Valley.EXPAND
Tamara Stanger of Cotton & Copper is headed to Utah but will keep some roots in the Valley.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

‘Cotton & Copper Will Close, Chef Tamara Stanger to Move to a Restaurant in Utah’

Speaking of chef Stanger. Cotton & Copper, the trailblazing restaurant in south Tempe, closed in early February 6. With that, Stanger decided to decamp to Utah where she’ll cook at a restaurant on a lake. Read about her time as one of the Valley’s most intriguing chefs, her and business partner Sean Traynor’s decision to close their eatery, and what she has in mind for future dishes feeding those lucky Utahns.

Chef Krystal Harris opened her south Phoenix vegan eatery in 2021.EXPAND
Chef Krystal Harris opened her south Phoenix vegan eatery in 2021.
Krystal Harris

‘Now Open: Krystal Harris’ Early Bird Vegan Eatery in South Phoenix’

During chef Krystal Harris’ decade as a personal chef for professional basketball players, she'd often prepare meals at these athletes' homes in Paradise Valley and Scottsdale. This year, she's opened her new restaurant, Early Bird Vegan, at 17th Street and Broadway Road near her home in south Phoenix so her community could enjoy the same healthful food as her former clients.

Danielle Carlock discussing the new plants at Mesa Community College's Red Mountain campus.EXPAND
Danielle Carlock discussing the new plants at Mesa Community College's Red Mountain campus.
Lauren Cusimano

‘The Maricopa Native Seed Library Has Free Food Plant Seeds (and a Nice Backstory)’

In the beginning, Scottsdale Community College faculty member Danielle Carlock’s sabbatical project was meant to address food insecurity for students. But when SCC shut down, she instead expanded the other part of the project: the free Maricopa Native Seed Library. Now, Carlock is addressing food insecurity for the whole Valley … sort of … by offering free food plant (and regular plant) seeds for pickup and through the mail.

Little O’s owner and operator Summer Anesin.EXPAND
Little O’s owner and operator Summer Anesin.
Summer Anesin

‘First Taste: Little O’s Is a Little Something Special’

Set in the Willo District’s food-court-like intersection of Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road, Little O’s is a stripped-down version of O.H.S.O. Brewery — and recommended by us. “Menu will be a little different, space will be a lot smaller, but the vibe will be the same neighborhood feel you get at O.H.S.O.,” is how owner and operator Summer Anesin describes the vibe. Anesin started as a server nine years ago when the first O.H.S.O. opened in Arcadia; now she runs this joint. And what a joint.

Rancho Pinot chef and owner Chrysa Robertson still made waves in 2020.EXPAND
Rancho Pinot chef and owner Chrysa Robertson still made waves in 2020.
Jackie Mercandetti Photo

‘Trump Trolls, James Beard Award Relief, and More Tales of 2020 From Chef Chrysa Robertson’

Rancho Pinot is open for takeout, but owner, chef, and overall neat lady Chrysa Robertson says 2020 was an incredibly long haul. Along the way: Trump trolls, relief from the James Beard Awards (Robertson was a nominee, but the awards were canceled), and keeping her staff paid. She looks forward to the day when making someone happy with food is less complicated.

Dana Dumas, owner of SugarJam Bake Shop & Bistro.EXPAND
Dana Dumas, owner of SugarJam Bake Shop & Bistro.
Melissa Fossom

‘Hidden Gem: SugarJam BakeShop & Bistro, Where Dana Dumas Strives to Know Your Order’

Before chef and owner Dana Dumas moved and renamed SugarJam BakeShop & Bistro (now SugarJam Southern Kitchen), she chatted with New Times about how she runs a combo southern eatery, pastry shop, and bar — which are all still relevant at her new restaurant. “I want this place to be like Cheers, where you feel seen," says owner Dana Dumas. "We know you and your order before you even sit down.”

11 Stories Celebrating Women in the Phoenix Food and Drink WorldEXPAND
Jacob Tyler Dunn

‘Introducing the James Beard Foundation Women of Arizona Alliance and Menu Program’

Bonus: This event was in January but it’s still cool. Read about how the James Beard Foundation Women of Arizona, a movement involving 15 female chefs at the time, launched their first initiative in the form of a series of takeout tasting menus across metro Phoenix. Check out the AZ Women in Food website for their next event, because chefs participating chefs like Lori Hashimoto of Hana Japanese Eatery, Danielle Leoni of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, Lori Hassler of The Farish House, and 24 Carrots' Sasha Raj are still going strong.

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