Women Chefs Initiative
Wherever we identify a need for more diversity and more equality in the restaurant industry, we will find creative and forward-thinking solutions.


We believe there is a pressing need for more women to be in higher ranking positions in the restaurant industry. Only then, will a more balanced space exist for creativity, equality, ability and positivity. A win – win for the good of all.

One of the ways The LEE Initiative hopes to address this problem is through our six month mentorship program we named the Women Chefs Initiative. By shining a spotlight on talented but little known female chefs in the industry, we intend to elevate their presence as well as their capability. As we enter our second year of the program, The LEE Initiative will once again award five female chefs from the state of Kentucky, Southern Indiana, and Cincinnati the opportunity to learn from other successful culinary leaders and hands on experience. This program will be offered to full time culinary professionals who are not business owners or head chefs.

The award will include the following:

  • A seven-day externship with a notable female-led restaurant group in the United States. It will include training in all aspects of the restaurant business from back of house to accounting.

  • Paid, pre-approved travel and hotel expenses along with a daily stipend for food.

  • One week of pay at the same rate as offered by the candidate’s current place of employment.

  • A written agreement from the candidate’s employer guaranteeing her position after the weeklong training.

  • A scholarship to the FAB Workshop in Charleston, SC in June 2020. Inclusive of travel and lodging.  FAB is 48 hours of educational and inspirational workshops created by women, for women in the hospitality industry. An invaluable opportunity to build your community with some of the most successful women in the industry and expand your knowledge on the financial side of the business.

  • An opportunity to participate in a developing a signature bourbon through the Private Select program with Maker’s Mark Bourbon.

  • A unique experience of spending a day in the test kitchen with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream developing our own signature flavor.

  • Media training and continuous support throughout your mentorship from Wagstaff Worldwide.

  • After externships are completed, an invitation to cook at the renowned James Beard House with Chef Edward Lee. The chefs will put into practice what they’ve learned and showcase their own recipes in front of press and other chefs in New York City.

  • Participate in the Lee Initiative fundraiser for the next class of mentees. This is another opportunity to show case their James Beard House menu in front of Kentucky restaurant community and potential donors.


  • Candidate applications due, February 1, 2020

  • New class of mentees announced, March 2, 2020

  • Externships take place between March and July of 2020

  • All 5 chefs meet with Chef Edward Lee for a mentorship day, July 2020.

  • All 5 chefs attend the FAB Workshop in Charleston, June 2020

  • All 5 chefs train at 610 Magnolia for two days to prepare for their James Beard Dinner

  • Dinner at the James Beard House, New York City, September 2020

  • LEE Initiative fundraising dinner at Makers Mark Distillery, September 2020



  • This program is only available to women who do not own their own restaurant and have been residing in Kentucky, Southern Indiana, or Cincinnati for at least one year.

  • Applicants must be currently working in the restaurant industry and have a minimum of two years experience.

  • Applicants must be at least 18 years old with legal status to work.

  • The application form and the short-answer questions must be completed.

  • All transcripts from education or programs obtained during the past five years must be submitted.

  • Two professional letters of reference must be attached and additional letters of recommendation are encouraged and welcomed.

  • Applicants must be available to interview with a member or members of our board either in person or via Skype.


Email: Lindsey@610Magnolia.com

Mail: Attn: Lindsey Ofcacek
610 W. Magnolia Avenue, Louisville, KY, 40208

In Person: To submit an application in person, please call 502.636.0783 to arrange a meeting.