Encouraging Diversity and Lessons from the Kitchen with Chef Lauren Owens

Lauren Owens

In today’s episode of Framework, Jamie talks with Lauren Owens, a private chef based out of New Jersey. Lauren has been a line cook, an executive chef, and everything in between. She now cooks for clients in their homes and works to pass on her love of vegetables to others.

Though she didn’t realize it at first, the joy she found in cooking from a young age put her on the path to make food her career. Early in her teens, she started working at a local sub shop, which grew her love of food and, more specifically, her passion for delivering a delightful food experience for others.

She then made her way through culinary school and onto working at a five-diamond restaurant, where the fact that she was one of the only women in the kitchen became more noticeable to her. Lauren realized that she could use her role to start bringing in more diversity to the profession. Even as she’s moved into being a private chef, she still advocates for women and minorities in the culinary industry.

Lauren talks with Jamie about how she got into food, the experience that drove her to become a professional chef, and what it’s like being an underrepresented group in the cooking world. They also talk about what Lauren is doing to help make healthier food more accessible for people rather than being something reserved for the elite.

(24:28) “It’s that stigma that they kind of pump you into thinking, being the only one of something is good. And for a while, I felt so honored to be the only girl or to be the only minority. And then I realized that it was stupid. Like really one day it just clicked. I’m one of the only minorities sitting at the table and I thought this is not okay. It’s just not okay. ~ @ChefLaurenOwens

Main Takeaways

  • Traditional college isn’t for everyone. We should encourage other trades and paths of education as equal to 4-year generalized degrees.
  • Bring the underrepresented to the table and don’t normalize having token representation.
  • Being the only one, or the first, to do something can be a way to push yourself, but it shouldn’t be something you’re content to keep that way. We should encourage others to follow a similar path.
  • Be the best because you want to be the best, not because you want to prove something or beat someone else.

Links and Important Mentions

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