Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR) was organized in 1993 by eight prominent professional women to promote the education and advancement of women in the restaurant industry and the betterment of the industry as a whole. When founding mothers Barbara Tropp, Mary Sue Milliken, and Elka Gilmore appeared as celebrity chefs at the Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival in 1994, they spoke to an eager crowd of Austin women at a breakfast meeting hosted at Zoot by co-owner Erika Brown. After that initial enthusiastic meeting, some local women joined the national group but no local chapter emerged. In the last few months, however, local restaurateur Sharon Gerhardt, co-owner of Ella's, and Schlotzsky's executive pastry chef Rebecca Rather have been working to establish an Austin WCR chapter with some success. Considering the large number of women chefs, caterers, and restaurant owners who were listed in "Food-o-File" columns last summer, there should be plenty of potential members. A small group of women heard Barbara Tropp speak eloquently about the value of WCR membership recently at a reception hosted by Sharon Watkins, owner of Chez Zee. The first official Austin WCR meeting is scheduled Monday, March 22, 3-5pm, at Ella's Restaurant & Bar (#1 Jefferson Square, 458-2148). The program will include a panel discussion on Effective Anger Management in the Workplace led by two Austin therapists. For more information on the meeting or joining WCR, contact Sharon Gerhardt (458-2148) or the national WCR office.
Women Chefs & Restaurateurs
304 West Liberty Street, Suite 201
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
--Virginia B. Wood