Note: The following piece is a part of ‘Cuterie by The CaribDiva Company ‘s commitment to highlighting with intention woman and BIPOC women chefs for their accomplishments in the culinary industry. To learn more about ‘Cuterie’s continuing mission, check us out here.
Amplifying the accomplishments of women chefs in the culinary industry is a large part of ‘Cuterie’s mission and purpose, particularly when they are blazing trails at every touch.
Tara Bryan is one of those trailblazers.
Born and raised in Birmingham, the second largest metropolis in England, Tara began her culinary journey working for several restaurants in her teens. Attending the Birmingham College of Food and Tourism, she also worked at the famed Michelin-star restaurant Mirabelle, a Marco Pierre White restaurant. She spent a little over a year and a half there before the next step in her career led her to the iconic Japanese restaurant Nobu.
Though Tara’s career up to this point was filled with fantastic opportunities to advance in world-famous restaurants, it is not the norm in the culinary industry. According to the career website ZIppia, only 25.2% of chefs employed across the country are women. As a key part of this percentage, Tara continued to move the goalposts, taking on the role of Demi chef for a year at the famed restaurant Nobu. Following her time at Nobu, Tara spent the next two years garnering additional experience at two of Jean Georges’ restaurants. Working for the Jean-Georges Management group; a powerhouse in the culinary industry spearheaded by mastermind Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Tara had the opportunity to rise to new heights in various roles, eventually landing her in New York.
From her role as a culinary trainer at Culinary Concepts to her full-time move to the Jean-Georges team; Tara has managed to carve out a beautiful niche in the food-centered world that embraces her purpose. Leaning into her purpose took her from one cosmopolitan city of London to the bright lights of New York City, and has enabled her to build the foundation needed for her current role that she currently holds, training and educating teams around the world.
As the Senior Culinary Director of the Jean-Georges group, Tara is in a unique position to travel the world, working with Jean-Georges for special events and opening restaurants globally. In the last year alone, her work has afforded her the opportunity to train opening teams in Jean-Georges establishments across the country, from the South Street Seaport marketplace Tin Building to organic powerhouse restaurant Drusie & Darr in Nashville, Tennessee, and more. Her role in senior culinary management puts her in an elite circle with glaring inequities - according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than 7% of the head chef roles in the restaurant industry are held by women.
In her current role, Tara works directly with the company’s global team infrastructure to ensure the fluidity of seasonal menu changes and ensure that recipes, timelines & communication is in line with Jean-Georges’ high standards. It is a dream for her, she notes, further adding, “Watching their faces when you put the final product forward for them to taste is (as) rewarding as a chef (as it comes).” Tara’s passion outside of the kitchen includes teaching her nieces how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookies - a feat everyone here at ‘Cuterie agrees is key! Currently living out one of her dreams of being a guest chef expert, Tara currently is a part of Chefs4impact, a community centered around food industry experts closing the gap between food producers and consumers. Part of the organization’s purpose is educating children and adults on the environmental and personal impacts on sustainable eating here in New York. Of this work, she notes, “(Having) the students help us cook and pack up all the food, then to deliver the food…Such a rewarding feeling.”
Kudos to blazing a trail, Tara!