Kathy Fang, TV personality and chef and owner of Fang Restaurant, is one of the speakers on the panel.
The professional culinary world is no cakewalk. It takes guts, dedication and talent to stand the heat in the kitchen, and in the male-dominated industry, it can feel even lonelier for women trying to make their mark.
The cure? Community, and that’s exactly what the W San Francisco hopes to inspire at this year’s annual What She Said 2023 Speaker Series Celebrating Women in Culinary event, coming to the SoMa District hotel on Thursday, May 4.
Co-presented with Naturally Bay Area, Celebrating Women in Culinary’s lineup of speakers includes Moodify CEO and co-founder Christine Keller; TV personality and San Francisco’s Fang Restaurant chef and owner Kathy Fang; Cheetah CEO and co-founder Na’ama Moran; Sluts Wine Bar and Hi Felicia owner and chef Imana; and W San Francisco’s executive chef Dawn Taylor-Cole.
Robyn Rutledge will serve as the panel moderator, leading the conversation to touch upon important topics from the advancement of women leaders in food, while encouraging each speaker to tell stories and lessons gleaned from their personal and professional journeys.
“For years, W San Francisco has amplified the voices of women entrepreneurs and disruptors in fashion, tech and music by way of What She Said and W Presents events,” Amy Arbuckle, general manager of W San Francisco, is quoted in a press release. “For the first time, W San Francisco is thrilled to embark on a thoughtful discussion around women in culinary. From Alice Waters to Dominque Crenn, some of the world’s preeminent innovators in the food space have originated in the Bay Area, most of them women. We are honored to have some of today’s talent join us for What She Said.”
Keller helps large corporations from Safeway to Chiquita launch successful food lines and products that bring fresh ingredients and produce to the masses. Her own food line, Moodify, launched in 2020 with an emphasis on holistic nourishment for both your body and your mind.
Cheetah co-founder Moran helps clean up the world of restaurant wholesale distribution by creating a more sustainable, technology-driven approach. The company has more than 3,000 restaurant partners, and the result is less wasteful, more local menus.
Fang’s namesake Chinese restaurant in SOMA brings elevated takes on Nothern and Southern Chinese dishes. You may have seen the eatery featured on Food Network’s Chef Dynasty: House of Fang, or seen the two-time Chopped champion on the channel’s Beat Bobby Flay, Cutthroat Kitchen and Guy’s Grocery Games.
Imana’s Michelin-rated Hi Felicia in Oakland and Sluts wine bar in San Francisco bring top-tier food and beverage offerings in a casual atmosphere, which sticks to Imana’s dedication to inclusivity, and her belief that fine dining doesn’t have to be stuffy.
Meanwhile, Taylor-Cole oversees the culinary programming throughout the W San Francisco hotel; weaving influence from her Southern upbringing into the destination’s catering and banquet menus, room service offerings, Living Room bar and Trace concept restaurant.
The What She Said panel even begins at 6:20 p.m. and will leave room for a Q&A after the discussion. Doors open at 5 p.m., and guests are encouraged to mingle and greet each other at an open bar warm-up. Light bites will also be offered, culled from recipes in the We Are La Cocina: Recipes in Pursuit of the American Dream cookbook. La Cocina is a nonprofit food business incubator for low-income women, immigrants and people of color, so it all ties into that message of community and empowerment.
The W San Francisco's What She Said speaker series is free to attend, though attendees are asked to donate to La Cocina in lieu of tickets. To learn more, RSVP and donate, visit wsfwhatshesaid_culinary.eventbrite.com.
Photography by: Courtesy of Kathy Fang; Courtesy of Robyn Rutledge; Courtesy of Christine Keller; Courtesy of Na'ama Moran; Courtesy of Imana; Courtesy of Dawn Taylor-Cole