When Is a Cook a Chef?

Leslie Lampert & Josyane Colwell

My grandmother could have been a famous chef. But that wasn’t happening in the early 1900s when Margit landed at Ellis Island with a head filled with Hungarian recipes. These weren’t recipes she memorized from a cookbook, but recipes she devised from the memory of the taste of her mother’s cooking. When she married my grandfather, she became the cook , not the chef, in his Hungarian restaurant on Houston Street in New York City. Despite her glorious babka and sumptuous brisket, she could never attain the title of Chef de Cuisine because that was a title reserved for men.

Fast forward to the 20th century, and there are many renowned female chefs including Julia Child and Lidia Bastianich who smashed the kitchen’s glass ceiling and paved the way for others. This year, two such lady executive chefs and owners, Josyane Colwell of Le Moulin Catering and Leslie Lampert of Cafe of Love and Ladle of Love, will star as cuisine committee co-chairs for ArtsWestchester’s ArtsBash event, alongside of the inimitable John Crabtree who delightfully is always our main squeeze in the kitchen.

Both ladies come to cuisine with freshness in both ingredients and imagination. Born in the south of France, Chef Colwell has a passion for using fresh, natural ingredients, a practice stemming from her days of shopping in the markets in Nice where the produce, fish, meats, poultry and flowers were all sourced not far from the markets themselves. This practice has been, for 25 years, at the heart of Le Moulin Catering.

As Executive Chef and Owner of two Mount Kisco eateries, Leslie Lampert lets the season dictate the menus at Café of Love and Ladle of Love. Her community-minded spirit supports local growers and neighborhood farmers. Chef Lampert took a journalistic route to the restaurant business as a former Senior Editor at “Ladies’ Home Journal Magazine” where she honed recipes in the test kitchen.

So what does it take to be a lady and a chef?  It’s probably all in the taste buds. According to reliable sources, women have more taste buds than men. Don’t take my word for it. Stop by ArtsBash on May 20 and check it out for yourself. Margit is smiling down on our amazing menu.

To learn more about ArtsBash, visit artsw.org/artsbash.

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