The Female Chefs in Charlotte You Need to Know About

Courtesy of Alyssa Gorelick
Courtesy of Alyssa Gorelick

Go into the kitchens of most gourmet restaurants in Charlotte and you’ll find them to be mostly dude-dominated -- but from up-and-coming restaurant owners to personal chefs, women are shifting the landscape. There’s nothing dainty about the flavors these 10 female chefs are cranking out of their respective kitchens.

Alyssa Gorelick

Executive chef and owner, Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen
Specialty: Healthy and seasonal, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors
What she’s doing when she's not working: Exercising, yoga, hanging out on a great patio with live music
Favorite thing about Charlotte: “I’ve grown up here and watched this city develop. There is a sense of community here with familiar faces and energetic people.”

Flickr/Andy Ciordia

Cassie Parsons

Executive chef and owner, Harvest Moon Grille and Grateful Growers Farm
Specialty: European flair with clean and simple flavors, incorporating her Romanian background
What she’s doing when she's not working: Enjoying the outdoors, hiking at South Mountains State Park
Favorite thing about Charlotte: The diversity in the food scene and also in culture. “You have so many walks of life; it’s a hub and it’s very cool to meet people from all over the world.”

Courtesy of Ashley Boyd (left, pictured with proprietor and mother Cathy Coulter)

Ashley Boyd

Pastry chef, 300 East and Heritage Food & Drink
Specialty: Artistic desserts focused on seasonal and local ingredients
What she’s doing when she's not working: Being a mom of two kids, ages 5 and 8, and battling a slight bit of Facebook/Instagram addiction
Favorite thing about Charlotte: “We have an explosion of creative talent and activity in the city between musicians, artists, photographers, chefs, food artisans, craftspeople, writers, and visionaries… Every five minutes seems to bring an opportunity to collaborate on some amazing project. I'm excited to live here right now.”

Courtesy of Chef Tillie Events

Tillie Kerna

Master chef and owner, Chef Tillie Events
Specialty: Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Ambassador, certified nutritionist, personal chef to the stars 
What she’s doing when she's not working: Middle school volleyball coach (and sand volleyball player), martial arts, PTO, and actively advocating for food education and clean eating
Favorite thing about Charlotte: Local farms and farmers markets are the favorite pastime most Saturday mornings. “Charlotte is big enough to meet all your needs but still has that small town feel to it where everyone is somehow connected.”

Courtesy of SouthernCakeQueen

Emma M. Cromedy

President and “Head Cake Enthusiast,” Southern Cake Queen
Specialty: Southern desserts
What she’s doing when she's not working: “Preparing for the arrival of our lil’ cupcake, Isabella Joi, and spending time with family and friends.”
Favorite thing about Charlotte: “I love the endless opportunities for work, entrepreneurship, and culture.”

Courtesy of Tara Dimante

Tara Diamante

Chef and owner, Bleu Barn Bistro food truck
Specialty: Farm-to-truck and new world American fusion
What she’s doing when she's not working: Being outdoors -- kayaking, hiking with her dog, and gardening
Favorite thing about Charlotte: The atmosphere. “The people, the food, the drinks, the activities, and that it is a city within and so close to nature.”

Courtesy of Vanessa Smith

Vanessa Smith

Executive chef, Harvest Moon Grille
Specialty: Seasonality and menu creation based on fresh produce
What she’s doing when she's not working: Checking out new restaurants and craft breweries, writing and blogging about food
Favorite thing about Charlotte: “You don't find a lot of egos or competition amongst Charlotteans. Everyone is just trying to support each other and make Charlotte a great place to be. That makes me happy.”

Courtesy of modPALEO

Tara Cameron

R&D chef, modPALEO
Specialty: Vegetarian cuisine, delivery-ready
What she’s doing when she's not working: Still cooking!
Favorite thing about Charlotte: The changing of the seasons, great farmers markets, and discovering the little eclectic corners of town.

Courtesy of Kristine Schmidt

Kristine Schmidt

Executive chef, 300 East
Specialty: New American fare
What she’s doing when she's not working: Relaxing with her dog
Favorite thing about Charlotte: The local band scene. “Groups like Temperance League, Chalkies, Miami Dice, The Loudermilks, Benji Hughes.”

Courtesy of Amy Fortes

Amy Fortes

Chef and owner, The Flipside Cafe & The Flipside Restaurant
Specialty: Upscale Southern comfort food
What she’s doing when she's not working: Supporting other local restaurants, going to movies, and hanging out with her husband and “two awesome stepsons”
Favorite thing about Charlotte: “The ever-growing food scene and all the camaraderie of all the chefs around here. It's a big crazy family!”

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Cristina Wilson is a Charlotte-based writer who likes dancing, eating, and road-tripping around the South -- usually at least two at a time. Follow her @cemwilson.