The Power List
Amanda Cohen Dirt Candy

The Power List 2018: Amanda Cohen

The annual NRN Power List is the definitive list of people setting foodservice trends today and shaping them for tomorrow. See the full list >>

The Straight Shooter 

Amanda Cohen was known for years mostly as a plant-forward chef at her New York City restaurant Dirt Candy. But that was before a slew of sexual harassment allegations against powerful men in the restaurant industry prompted her to pen an article for Esquire in November titled, “I’ve Worked in Food for 20 Years. Now You Finally Care About Female Chefs?” While the article went viral, Cohen has been speaking out about women in the restaurant workplace for years. In 2013, she wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times about the dearth of press coverage for women-led restaurants. And in 2014, she told Splendid Table, “We have a huge problem in this industry. ... We’re not keeping women in the kitchen. We need to keep women in the kitchen. They don’t have to be barefoot, but they have to be in the kitchen.”

Power List rank: No. 8

Known for: Firstly, Cohen is known for her vegetable-forward cooking. She chooses to cook this way not because of a vegetarian ethos, but because vegetables just taste good. She’s also known for implementing a no-tipping system in her restaurant and speaking out for women chefs. 

Power move: Cohen was already an industry leader for her lauded restaurant and assertive stance on tipping and women working in restaurants, but she cemented her position with her article about sexual harassment and attitudes toward women chefs and restaurateurs for Esquire. 

What’s next: Cohen doesn’t just talk the talk: She stood up for her employees by eliminating tips and establishing a system that aims to pay workers fairly. And she’s putting women at the forefront by serving a wine list exclusively sourced from women-led producers.

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