12 Lady Chefs (and Non-Chefs) Who Owned 2014

Has there been a better year for female chefs? Probably not.

After the inevitable sh*t show of 2013, what with TIME proclaiming that dudes basically run the food world, we didn’t have much hope for 2014. How could we, when we basically had to defend a woman’s place in a professional kitchen to most of the world? But after everyone else got on board and was like “equal rights, a-holes,” it seemed as though 2014 opened up for female chefs and women working in the food industry.

The James Beard awards finally got some ladies up in their grill, especially for big awards like “Restauranteur of the Year.” Michelin stars were awarded. TV shows and cookbook deals were landed. Magazines put ladies on the cover. Major print publications planned out issues dedicated to just women. In short, women did good this year — and made the rest of the world pay attention.

Some names you’ll recognize on our list, and some you may not. But these women are the game-changers that (we hope) will make some lasting impressions from 2015 and beyond.

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