Female food entrepreneurs working at Hot Bread Kitchen’s culinary incubator in East Harlem speak about the importance of community, and what it’s like working as a woman in the male-dominated food industry.
CEO & Founder, sanaia applesauce
“My entire journey as an entrepreneur has been a tangible example of the power of sisterhood. On a daily basis I depend on the generosity of women within my network to share their resources and their network. I have been blessed to have a tribe of women who have embraced my ambition as if it was their own.”
Maya S. MacLaughlin, Irinel Stegaru-MacLaughlin, and Dr. Beatrice Stegaru
Co-Founders & Owners, Maya’s Jam & Syrup Co.
“As a team of three generations of women ourselves, we know and cherish the values strong, independent women bring to the table. By coming together to create new ideas, new products, new recipes, and content we can learn from each other in the best possible ways. Instead of trying to compete for limited spaces with other women in the industry, we want to build each other up, encourage, and push boundaries to create more space for us all.
As underrepresented in the industry, we are easily looked over or not seen as equally important influencers of trends, or industries. Buyers, owners, managers of all types of stores and restaurants are often men who obviously don’t take women seriously. It’s a tough industry to make a name for yourself as female entrepreneurs, but we will keep at it, encourage our peers and colleagues to keep going and push harder until we will no longer be a minority, but equals.”
Founder, Sweet Vegan
“When you share and listen with an open heart, women in food (aren’t we all women in food?) give back with abundance. Creating an openness and sharing the love of food is the first step.
In our own community at Hot Bread Kitchen, I feel the love and kindness from the Hot Bread Kitchen staff, who always stay on top of everything and with a positive attitude even on the most stressful days! Women are natural communicators and love to not only talk but also listen. One example are my fellow food entrepreneurs Raven Palmer of Cupcake Queen Raven and Jessica Taige of Jessie’s Nutty Cups share their kindness by helping to solve technical and organizational food issues for my business. It doesn’t get any better that this.”
Private Chef, Tanya Tracy, LLC
“I create a community of women by employing mostly women. My event staff are primarily women and kitchen help are women who came to the U.S. against all odds from other countries with dreams. My goal is give them a friendly, supportive and uplifting environment to work in.”
CEO/Founder, Jessie’s Nutty Cups
“Being surrounded by such incredibly supportive women with their own food businesses means I feel supported by women every day.
I strive to create a community with fellow woman food entrepreneurs by regularly, sharing and exchanging ideas and advice with fellow businesswomen at HBK Incubates such as Susan of Little Red Kitchen, Ilana from Stylish Spoon, and Rebecca of Spread-mmms. Having the support of these incredible female business owners, who are at similar stages of their businesses, has made this nutty business journey much easier, and much more fun.”
Founder, Stylish Spoon
“I love supporting other moms by making it easier for them to feed themselves and their kids healthy, nutrient-dense foods that taste delicious. Because I came from the legal world where as a female law student and attorney I usually felt outnumbered by men, I’ve learned to put on my big girl pants and claim my seat at the table in any situation.”
Casey Kathryn Kehoe
CEO & Founder, Casey’s Krunch
“As I have started my business from ground zero, I look at other women who have been successful in my area and look up to them as mentors, not a threat or competition. It brings me great confidence, confirmation and motivation that if they were able to succeed, then so can I.
I constantly surround myself with strong women who are positive and offer inspiration–PLUS being apart of HBK Incubates has allowed me to meet women in the food industry that I probably never would have crossed paths with. It allows me to be exposed to new cultures and friends that have added an immense richness to my life.”
Founder & CEO, Soma Nutrition
“The food industry and professional kitchens, in particular, are notoriously male-dominated—but 91% of dietitians and nutritionists are women! I was actually inspired to become a nutritionist from working with fabulous female practitioners in my own health journey, and these women have become my network of advisors. Soma Nutrition serves both women and men with great success and outstanding results by all, but I am very proud that Soma is in a league of our own when it comes to bringing the female perspective, personal experience and unique expertise to this space.”