NOT ENOUGH CHEFS: Well aware of the number of restaurants across the country that have been hit hard by the pandemic, Kering Americas is offering some relief to support gender equity in the restaurant business.
As is the case with many conglomerates, Kering Americas is using International Women’s Day to announce a female-friendly initiative — a donation to the James Beard Foundation to support women-owned restaurants. A Kering Americas spokesperson declined to disclose the amount of the donation.
In a study released in December, the National Restaurant Association determined that 17 percent of U.S. restaurants had closed permanently or on a long-term basis due to the coronavirus crisis. That percentage accounted for 110,000 service-industry businesses across the country. Before the shutdown immobilized diners and shuttered indoor dining for months on end, women chefs were disproportionately underrepresented nationwide. Twenty-two percent of the head chefs in the U.S. were female, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Kering America’s donation will support the James Bears Foundation’s Open for Good campaign, which was created to help independent restaurants survive the coronavirus crisis and to help them become more equitable, sustainable and resilient.
Noting how restaurants contribute to “the heart and soul of our cities and communities,” Kering America’s’ president Laurent Claquin said in a statement that now more than ever these businesses “need our support. The fashion and food industry have a symbiotic connection and strengthen each other to foster inspiration and creativity.”
In step with International Women’s History Month, Kering will support the James Beard Foundation’s upcoming programming to strengthen aid for their mission.
As Claquin indicated, the fashion-food connection is a real one. Designers such as Lela Rose, Zac Posen, Phillip Lim and Peter Som have been showing off their cooking skills on social media during the pandemic. Celebrities are also playing up their culinary connections: Priyanka Chopra revealed to her 60.9 million Instagram followers on Saturday that she has teamed with chef Hari Nayak of Dubai’s Masti restaurant to launch an Indian restaurant called Sona in New York.