By Poppy Jasmine Hawkes
According to the Office of National Statistics, despite 54% of the hospitality industry being women, men make up 58% of senior restaurant and catering roles. So, nurture your body and mind this Women’s History Month by supporting female-run restaurants.
ONS also reported that one in four chefs were female in 2021, increasing by a third since 2016. Let us continue this positive trend this year, whether the establishment was founded by a woman or has a female Head Chef, we have rounded up some of the most exciting female fronted eateries to discover in London.
Acclaimed chef, Skye Gyngell provides seasonal dishes, served in style within a restored 19th Century drawing room in Somerset House’s New Wing. Featuring the genius Scratch menu, using sustainably sourced ingredients, otherwise going to waste.
Combining American dining with fresh British produce, Gabriel Pryce and Missy Flynn run the cult sandwich store, Bodega Rita’s and adored restaurant Rita’s Dining located in the heart of Soho.
Referencing the nickname of suffragette Emily Davison, The Pem believes in passionate and dedicated cooking. Founder Sally Abés handpicked senior team sees Laetizia Keating as Head Chef and Emma Underwood as General Manager, allowing for a brilliant women-led establishment.
In 2014, Margot Henderson and Melanie Arnold opened The Canteen, converting the bike shed of the old Rochelle School. With a new seasonal menu daily, expect classic British cooking with modern European influences.
From Netflix’s Chef’s Table, Asma Khan opened her restaurant in Covent Garden, inspired by the railway routes of the Indian subcontinent. There are three, eight course tasting menus as well as a Sunday brunch, celebrating the diversity of cuisines within the region.
Native at Browns
Co-founded by Imogen Davis, the gorgeous restaurant based in Browns Brook Street proudly preserves Britain’s culinary heritage in a playful, innovative and sustainable manner. Enjoy seasonal small plates paired with natural wines and foraged cocktails.
The iconic Italian restaurant in Hammersmith, founded by Rose Gray and Ruth Rodgers, CBE in 1987. Changing daily menus sees classic Italian dishes made with care. The legendary eatery is also notable for its history of celebrity guests, many featuring on Rodgers’ podcast River Cafe Table 4.
Named after co-founder Monica Galetti’s mother (pronounced ‘Mary’ in Samoan) and deriving from the French word for mother, this restaurant offers a refined French and South Pacific inspired dining experience.
Nieves Barragán Mohacho co-founded the lively Spanish restaurant on Heddon Street. With distinct dining areas from The Counter, the bar and the El Asador, each offers a different Spanish cuisine experience.
Ottolenghi Test Kitchen
Bahraini born Noor Murad is the Head Developer at the adored Ottolenghi Test Kitchen in Holloway, as well as co-author of Ottolenghi: Shelf Love. You are guaranteed freshly-made food which is naturally free from preservative and colouring, ensuring the utmost greatest flavour.
Adejoké Bakare opened her contemporary West African restaurant in 2020, following her victory in Brixton’s Kitchen competition. Priding itself on unique seasoning and spices, as well as cherished age old recipes and techniques.
Erchen Chang is co-founder of the adored Taiwanese restaurants BAO, serving divine fluffy bao buns, noodle dishes and cocktails. Since opening in Netil Market, 2013, there are now several BAO establishments all over London to choose from.
Dipna Anand at Somerset House
Punjabi and South Indian food, as well as signature Thali plates pair with Indian wines, beverages and contemporary cocktails. Award-Winning chef, Dipna Anand heroes her authentic Indian cooking in her restaurant based in Somerset House.
Michelin starred restaurant, founded by Angela Hartnett MBE also sees Head Chef Em Brightman. The award-winning Italian restaurant is one of the few establishments to hold 4 AA rosettes, while emphasising ‘fun’ over fine dining.
London’s best women-run restaurants you need to book now.
By Poppy Jasmine Hawkes