A familiar — if sexist — trope is that a woman's place is in the kitchen. While this hackneyed saying has its roots in the home, in the restaurant world, less than 7 percent of head chefs and restaurant owners are women.
In the new documentary A Fine Line, first-time filmmaker Joanna James explores this disparity in the culinary world. James does so by weaving the tales of women who have made it in the culinary field despite the overwhelming odds, including Dominique Crenn, the first woman in the United States to receive a Michelin three-star rating, restaurateur/TV host Lidia Bastianich and Cat Cora, the successful restaurateur and chef who was the first female Iron Chef on Food Network's Iron Chef America.
A screening of James' documentary is finally coming to Dallas, with James and Cora headlining a discussion panel along with local female chefs who have forged their own success stories in North Texas. The screening will take place at the Palace Theater in Grapevine on Saturday, March 9.
In addition to the screening, the post-film discussion panel promises to be enlightening. In addition to Cora, The list of local chefs includes Tiffany Derry of Roots Chicken Shak, Uno Immanivong of Red Stix Asian Street Food, Casey Nicole, Jennifer Bajsel of Getting Saucy, Sara Bintrim (Aramark), and Yasmin Wages of Malai Kitchen.
The event is hosted by Independence Gardens, the sustainable gardening/healthy eating initiative started in Lewisville by Chonnie Richey. Richey describes landing the screening's only North Texas showing as something of a happy accident.
"Honestly, it just fell in my chair," Richey explains. "At first I was thinking it would be a quick fundraiser for Independence Gardens, but I was blown away after seeing the film." She knew right away that helping push the story of female empowerment was something she wanted to be involved in.
"What struck me about this film, no matter what industry you're in, whether it's the culinary world or anything else, is it shows what's happening now when it comes to female empowerment, female leadership and the female movement," Richey said. "The women we've found to participate have helped us out at Independence Gardens, and this is a chance for me to help them out in return, and have them share their stories."
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Tickets to the event will get attendees admittance to a reception with wine and hors d'oeuvres, followed by the screening of A Fine Line. The panel of female chefs, moderated by director James, will take place immediately following the film.
VIP ticket holders will get an extended chance to interact with the chefs before the film, as each chef will prepare an appetizer to be served to VIP ticket holders which reflects their individual culinary backgrounds.
Proceeds from the screening will support Independence Gardens’ nutrition education programs, including their chef-driven, student-led cooking program, Come and Eat IT!, which will be held later this spring.
A Fine Line, screening 6 p.m. Saturday, March 9 at the Palace Theater, 300 S. Main St., Grapevine.Tickets ($65/$100 VIP) via EventBrite.