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Female culinary pros sign on for UNLV initiative

Updated January 23, 2020 - 10:20 am

If there’s strength in numbers, the Women’s Hospitality Initiative is getting off to a strong start. More than 50 influential and successful women in the local food and beverage community have signed on to participate in the organization’s Feb. 18 launch event at UNLV.

The Initiative, or WHI, is a Las Vegas-based organization “committed to accelerating the development of women leaders in the restaurant and food service industry.” And as previously reported, its first public event will be a screening of the documentary film “A Fine Line” at UNLV’s Judy Bailey Theater, followed by a panel discussion and a culinary celebration in its Hospitality Hall. The list of educators, chefs, mixologists, sommeliers, restaurateurs and other culinary professionals participating in those events reads like a Who’s Who of women in the F&B industry.

The panel discussion will be led by Stowe Shoemaker, professor and dean of UNLV’s Harrah College of Hospitality, and Mary Choi Kelly, co-founder of WHI, and the film’s star, chef/restaurateur Valerie James. They’ll be joined by chefs Lorena Garcia and Mary Sue Milliken, Caesars Entertainment Vice President Lora Picini, Therese Gearhart of Women’s Foodservice Forum and Katherine Miller of the James Beard Foundation.

That, however, is just the beginning. Here’s the list of women who are signed up to make the culinary celebration an event to remember:

Alexandra Lourdes and Lin Jerome, Saint Honoré

Alyssa Ocampo, Sparrow + Wolf

Amber Ramsay, Carl’s Donuts

Anamarie Ellis and Christina Ellis, Ellis Island Casino Hotel & Brewery

Angela Ippolito, Lupo by Wolfgang Puck

Ashley Costa, Vetri Cucina

Audrey Alonzo and Stephanie Bogert, UNLV

Candace Ochoa, Bazaar Meat by José Andrés

Cathy Stamm and Emily Brubaker, Cured & Whey

Chloe Helfand, Atomic Saloon Show, Spiegelworld

Christina Wilson, Gordon Ramsay Group

Cindy Soliz, Buddy V’s Ristorante

Claudia Andracki, Desert Bloom Eco Farm

Danielle Crouch, Jammyland Cocktail Bar & Reggae Kitchen

Elizabeth Blau, Honey Salt

Elyse Petersen, Tealet

Flora Aghababyan, Wynn Las Vegas

Gina Marinelli, Ragan Kerney and Stephanie Torres, La Strega

Heidi Cole, The Barrymore

Jainine Jaffer, Shiraz

Jamie Tran, The Black Sheep

Jeneice Marrinetto, Park on Fremont

Jenna Boyer, J&P Fine Wine (Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits)

Jennifer Murphy, Caesars Entertainment

Jenny Wong, Fat Choy Restaurant

Jessica Perlstein, Main St. Provisions

Joymar Herrin, Herbs & Rye

Juyoung Kang, The Dorsey at The Venetian

Kelly Bianchi, Wynn Las Vegas

Kristine Raymer, Centerplate

Lindsey Geddes, Charlie Palmer Collective

Lorena Garcia, Chica

Mariena Boarini, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Border Grill & BBQ Mexicana

Michelle Mumar, Milk Bar

Nicole Brisson, Locale

Nicole Erle, Cut by Wolfgang Puck

Nina Manchev, The Caviar Collective

Penny Chutima and Saipin Chutima, Lotus of Siam

Rose Signor, Silver Stamp

Roxanne Gomez, The Golden Tiki

Sarah Thompson, Elio

Sonia El-Nawal, Rooster Boy Café, Rooster Boy Granola

Sonia Stelea, Ada’s

Veronica Arroyo and Vivian Chang, Stripsteak

Wyndee Forrest, CraftHaus Brewery

Tickets for the screening and culinary celebration start at $30 for UNLV students, and $60 for everyone else, with VIP packages available. You can purchase them at secretburger.com.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian.

Contact Al Mancini at amancini@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter and Instagram.

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