Louisville Chefs: Applications For Women Culinary And Spirits Program Open

Feb 8, 2023 at 4:45 pm
Past Women Culinary and Spirits Program participant Taylor Jarvis
Past Women Culinary and Spirits Program participant Taylor Jarvis

The LEE Initiative, developed to empower a diverse group of culinary professional, has opened applications for the Women Culinary and Spirits program. The applications will remain open until Feb. 16. The Women Culinary and Spirits Program is a six-month program geared toward female chefs who need to develop the skills, networks and resources to further their careers. The opportunities of the program include: 

  • Mentorship with notable chefs, this year's include Nina Compton, Kelsey Barnard Clark, Jessica Koslow, Silvia Barban, Beverly Kim, Katie Button, Anne Quatrano, and Reem Assil.
  • Weeklong externships under a successful Chef or Beverage Director of a female-led restaurant or restaurant group
  • FAB Summer Camp 2023, 2 days of workshops in Charleston focusing on the business/financial side of hospitality
  • The Kentucky Experience, an immersive trip to Louisville where the mentee class visits Maker's Mark's distillery and creates their own "CommUNITY Batch," a signature Private Select
  • A Capstone Dinner where mentees celebrate their time on the program and fundraise for future classes
“I actually started crying on the phone when Lindsey called to tell me I was accepted,” said participant Taylor Jarvis in a questionnaire from the program. “I stepped outside at work to call her back and just instantly became so full of excitement. I was so honored to be chosen for this program and that call was everything to me.”

Jarvis said she’d like to change the way women are perceived in leadership in her industry. 

“There is always an asterisk as to why we have made it this far, " said Jarvis. “It is really unfortunate, it just can't be because of our talent. It is a very frustrating challenge to overcome but programs like the Lee Initiative give me the tools to work past it.”

Jarvis, who is from Virginia, gained a lot of experience working in Asheville, North Carolina. For the program, she worked under mentor Nina Compton. 

“Chef Nina is such an influential Chef, but especially for women. Chef's like her are paving the way for my generation and it is such a privilege to work with her.”