The Citiblog

Three NYC Events Honoring and Empowering Women in the Hospitality Industry
October 21, 2023, 10:34.55 am ET


The LEE Initiative is a non-profit, co-founded by Chef Edward Lee and Lindsey Ofcacek, which aims to bring more equity, inclusivity, and compassion into the hospitality industry through various grant and mentorship programs. The Women Culinary and Spirits Program selects an annual cohort of women who work in hospitality to go through a year of trainings, externships, and mentorships, equipping them with the tools needed to advance into leadership positions.

To commemorate the end of the program, The LEE Initiative is taking over Platform by the James Beard Foundation at Pier 57, with three nights of events for guests to experience the talents of the women mentors and mentees firsthand.

Who: Chef Edward Lee, Lindsey Ofcacek, and The LEE Initiative's Women Culinary & Spirits Program's mentors (Chefs Anne Quatrano, Silvia Barban, Kelsey Barnard Clark, Reem Assil, and spirits expert Rhea Buck) and mentees (Chelsea Ballard, An Cao, Ashley Knight-Williams, Tayler Barnes, Eka Soenarko, and Jarina Naone)

What: Nov 13: Fueling the Next Wave of Women in Hospitality: A panel where LEE mentors, Chefs Anne Quatrano, Silvia Barban, and Kelsey Barnard Clark, will sit down with Anne McBride, JBF's VP of Programs, to discuss the power of female mentorship and equipping young talent with resources to succeed – (5 PM)

Nov 14: Giving Everyone a Seat at the Table: A collaborative dinner from LEE’s Mentors – Reem Assil, Anne Quatrano, Silvia Barban, Rhea Buck, and Kelsey Barnard Clark – with a debut of this year’s Community Batch—a unique Maker's Mark bourbon recipe crafted by LEE’s network of mentors (7 PM)

Nov 16: Cooking Up a More Inclusive Industry and Culinary Future: A Capstone Dinner with this year’s WCSP mentees – Chelsea Ballard, An Cao, Ashley Knight-Williams, Tayler Barnes, Eka Soenarko, Jarina Naone – and Chef Edward Lee, and a taste of the specialty Maker's Mark Barrel 'Empress Select,' created by this class of mentees (7 PM)

Where: Platform by the James Beard Foundation at Pier 57 in Chelsea at 25 11th Ave, New York, NY 10011

How: All tickets can be purchase on the Platform website. For each specific event:

The panel for Nov 13 event is free, and guests can sign up here

Purchase tickets for the Nov 14 dinner here

Purchase tickets for the Nov 16 dinner here