To celebrate International Women's Day, we got up close and personal with eleven outstanding female chefs around the world to learn about the beginnings of their culinary adventures and the inspirations behind their creations.
Kea Liden, Hong Kong
After moving to Hong Kong, Kea Liden started her first venture from her own kitchen. Nowadays, Liden focuses her energies on her two popular restaurants, Thai On High and Thai on Nine. Kea sources her ingredients from the local markets daily, and from regular trips home to Chiang Rai.
Read Kea's full interview here!
Shelina Permaloo, UK
Shelina Permaloo was working as a project manager when she applied to be on Masterchef in 2011. When she sent in her application, she had no idea that she had started on a culinary journey that would include winning the show, and kick off a brand new food-inspired chapter in her life. Shelina leads the kitchen at Lakaz Maman.
Jackie Keating, Ireland
Dedication, relentless attention to detail and hard work are just some of the qualities that have kept restaurant owner Jackie Keating at the top of her profession for over 30 years. Today, she heads up Dublin's beloved Independent Pizza Company as well as the popular Gotham restaurants.
Sabrina Goldin, France
Sabrina Goldin first embarked on a career in industrial design, but her passion for her native Argentinian food changed all that. When she arrived in Paris, she set about turning her fond memories of home into delicious Argentine street food outlets, which have since spawned many copycats. Sabrina leads the kitchen at L'Empanaderia - The Asado Club.
Jeanette Saravini, Germany
Jeanette Saravini's father taught her the secrets of Italian cuisine from a young age, and her mum supported Jeanette and her sister in fulfilling their dream of taking over the family restaurant business. Through the highs and lows, there has been one constant part in her life: her family. Jeanette leads the kitchen at Saravini.
Alessandra Bognanni, Italy
Alessandra Bognanni created her first Asian Express restaurant,W.O.K., with her husband Giuseppe Amati in 2006. With a focus on maintaining authentic flavours of Thailand, her inspiring mantra is 'believe in more'.
Fenna Cannegieter, Netherlands
Opening Madame Poulet, a chicken stand in Amsterdam, didn't seem the most logical step for Fenna Cannegieter, a civil servant and mum who absolutely couldn't cook. But, it turned out to be a match made in heaven! She's a chef with courage, as well as an accomplished businesswoman.
Pascale Nihoul, Belgium
During a trip to the US in her twenties, Pascale Nihoul fell in love with American diners. She set aside her dream of becoming a comedian, and opened the first American diner in Brussels – Le Balmoral, in the heart of Uccle – which she still runs with pride after twenty-seven years.
Gisela Salazar Golding, Singapore
How many life changing career decisions start with a tennis racquet? For Gisela Salazar Golding, selling Quesillos (a Venezuelan dessert) meant the start of her cooking career, as well as providing funds for the tennis racquet she wanted. Today, Gisela helms the kitchen of the wildly popular Grain Traders.
Nicole Shiu, Australia
Nicole Shiu didn't know what she was going to be when she grew up, only that she had always enjoyed cooking and creating. So far, this inspirational young patisserie chef has garnered some impressive awards, including runner-up in the 2016 World Patisserie Awards. And she's just getting started. Nicole creates her amazing desserts in the kitchen of T by Luxbite.
Sophia Sleiman, Dubai
A food scientist by training, Sophia Sleiman was always passionate about cooking. She wanted to bring nutritious, filling and genuinely good Lebanese food to Dubai, which is why she started the homegrown concept Mantoushe, meaning "take a real bite".