List of female chefs with Michelin stars
Women chefs were among some of the earliest to be awarded Michelin stars. Within the Michelin Guide, stars were first introduced in 1926 with the present three star system added in 1931. When three stars were first awarded in 1933, two female chefs, Eugénie Brazier and Marie Bourgeois, were among them. Several female chefs have been awarded three stars since, including Marguerite Bise, Sophie Bise, Nadia Santini, Elena Arzak, Clare Smyth, Anne-Sophie Pic and Carme Ruscalleda.
In recent years, the number of male chefs awarded stars has greatly outnumbered those given to women. However, there has been an increase in the number of women from different nations awarded, due to the expansion of the areas covered by the guide. The lack of women holding stars has repeatedly led to criticism of the Michelin Guide, who have in turn pointed to the lack of female chefs overall in the industry.
The Michelin Guide was first published in 1900 in France, to promote driving. In 1926, it began to specialise in fine dining reviews, introducing a single star system. The current three star system began in 1931, although three stars were not awarded until the 1933 edition.
The first women chefs to hold three Michelin stars came in that 1933 edition to Eugénie Brazier and Marie Bourgeois, although Brazier won three stars at both of her La Mère Brazier restaurants in Lyon and at Col de la Luère. She held all six for 20 years, and her record for holding the most stars stood until beaten by Alain Ducasse in 1998. It then stood as the record for a female chef, until Carme Ruscalleda won her seventh star across several restaurants.
Following the Second World War, Marguerite Bise became the third woman to win three Michelin stars, at her restaurant Auberge du Père Bise in 1950. It is then often reported that there was a 50-year gap before Anne-Sophie Pic became the fourth woman to win a set of three stars, despite Bise's granddaughter Sophie regaining the family restaurant's three stars in 1985, and similar awards made by Michelin to female chefs such as Nadia Santini, Elena Arzak and Clare Smyth in the interim.
While the number of women chefs with Michelin stars have been increasing in recent years, they are still relatively few in number. This is due in part to the percentage of female chefs; 4.7% of chefs in the United States are women, while the figure is 20% in the United Kingdom. The low number of female chefs with stars has led to criticism of the Michelin Guide, alongside other issues such as the pay gap between male and female chefs.
The problem was raised with Michelin director Michael Ellis following the publication of the 2018 New York City edition, who said that the company "can't do anything" to resolve it. Subsequently, a spokesperson said "Increasingly, more women are entering the profession in this country and around the world. Michelin is not involved in culinary education or recruitment. We deeply value diversity of all kinds and are pleased to see the trend toward greater diversity in the culinary field."
List of female chefs with Michelin stars
- This symbol denotes chefs who won a Michelin star as an executive chef under a Chef Patron, who is also considered to have won the star.
- This symbol denotes chefs who won a Michelin star as a co-executive chef alongside another chef.
- This symbol denotes chefs who initially held stars under a Chef Patron or as a co-executive chef, but then later retained or earned those stars on their own.
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- The restaurant and location listed reference the location where the highest number of stars was awarded to the chef. Where there are multiple restaurants, the earliest one is displayed.
- Bengtsson was promoted from pastry chef to head chef of Restaurant Aquavit in April 2014 while it held one Michelin star, it was promoted to two star status later that year.
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