Women helping women is at the core of a campaign called “She Brings the Heat!” Legendary Chicago chef and restaurant owner Ina Pinkney, who delighted thousands of customers for decades at her restaurant that brought fine dining to breakfast, is part of the campaign that champions women as head chefs and restaurant owners. The campaign, featuring Ina and other inspiring leaders in the foodservice business, is an effort by Chicago’s FoodMix Marketing Communications and Smithfield Culinary. In the audio clip below, Ina tells WGN’s Steve Alexander women chefs change the culture in professional kitchens for the better, and while it’s encouraging that more women are studying and training for the business, the current numbers are dismal: Only 6.3% of head chef positions in the U.S. are held by women. Ina closed her restaurant nine years ago and now devotes much of her time to counseling young women who want to do what she did. She makes sure they understand “they have more power than they think, and that it’s up to them to speak the truth about who they are and what they need.” Ina, who will be celebrating her 80th birthday in April with 75 chefs cooking for her at a charity fundraiser, also shares a story about a regular diner at her restaurant, WGN legend Wally Phillips.
Chicago food legend Ina Pinkney celebrates International Women's Day and Women's History Month with a campaign designed to get more women in head chef and restaurant ownership roles.