"This is one of the few industries where we can actually be equal to men, given half a chance, and we can also handle tons of pressure."
Hundreds of votes from pub-guide editors, top pub industry suppliers, gastropub chefs, food writers, and critics were counted to reveal the country’s best gastropubs across the country. This year’s Estrella Damm List of Top 50 Gastropubs shows a number of inspiring women running award-winning pub kitchens including the pub which reached the top spot – The Harwood Arms in Fulham.
Sally Abé was announced Gastropub Chef of The Year for 2020 for her work at London’s The Harwood Arms. The pub is just one of just seven London pubs to make it into the top 50 and is London’s only Michelin-starred gastropub too. Sally thanked her amazing team at the awards ceremony which took place at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, Hythe, Kent on 27th January 2020.
Stosie and her business partner Kathy Smith took on The Parkers Arms in 2007. Stosie has helped establish The Parkers Arms as a culinary North West gastronomic hotspot from derelict abandoned pub to a nationally acclaimed award winning food centric establishment.
Straight in at number 26 is The Black Bull with Head Chef Nina Matsunaga. Nina was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, to Japanese parents, and these remarkably different food cultures have played a huge role in influencing the food she creates in the kitchen.
Those who watched Great British Menu in 2019 will be familiar with another female head chef in list. Emily Scott, Chef Owner of The St Tudy Inn represented the South West on the BBC2 show and her gastropub was last year’s highest climber in the Top 50 Gastropub list.
Charlotte Vincent (formerly Head Pastry Chef at the two Michelin starred Gidleigh Park for over a decade) became the new Head Chef of The Five Bells Inn in summer 2019. Under her guidance, she helped the pub to make a new entry into the Top 50 Gastropubs list.
Like all of the female Head Chefs in the listing, gender has not got in the way of success and Charlotte was one of the most outspoken chefs when it was suggested by Marco Pierre White that women weren’t strong enough to work in professional kitchens. In order to get more women into kitchens, Charlotte said there needed to be more role models in the media. She said “This is one of the few industries where we can actually be equal to men (given half a chance) and we can also handle tons of pressure. The point is not to let the ego get in the way of asking for help when needed, which we are good at.”
You can find out more about these award-winning chefs on Women in the Food Industry's website where you can also discover a link to the full Top 50 Gastropubs of 2020.