There is a disturbing lack of female executive chefs servicing diners in Charlottesville, Va, especially since CVille has more restaurants per capita than every city in America except New York & San Francisco.
I can only count six female executive chefs in CVille kitchens. That statistic startled me.
Laura Fonner at Duner's Restaurant, Melissa Close-Hart at @, Jeanette Peabody at @ & Shantina Hash at @, Kit Ashi at @ & Robin McDaniel at @.
Who am I missing? Please let me know. I would love to include them!
I asked Laura Fonner, the pioneering executive chef at Duner's Restaurant, about this on The I Love CVille Show powered by Greenberry's Coffee. "The family life... [Being a chef] is not excellent when you have children," said Laura, who's a mother of three. "It's a hard lifestyle because you don't start at the top. You have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Sometimes you get halfway fucking there, and you're like, 'Uh-uh, I'm not doing it.'" Laura routinely works 14-16 hour days at Duner's. This past summer, Duner's was down a dishwasher, so Laura jumped into the dish pit after dinner service & started cleaning dishes. Laura literally made & plated the food & then washed the dishes that the food was served on hours later. I have one word for this: BADASS!
As we know, the restaurant category in CVille is crowded and competitive. While new restaurants are opening every month, others are closing & heading for bankruptcy. Duner's has withstood the test of time in a saturated market.
Regardless, Duner's freakin CRUSHES IT! The front-of-the-house is on point & the back-of-the-house is consistent under Laura's leadership. "I try to make things you will never do at home. Why go out to dinner & have something you can do at home?" Laura said. "We try & go above & beyond. We just really care about the food. That's all it comes down to. That's how it has always been. Everything is from scratch at Duner’s. That’s why my days are so long.” ~ @ @ @ @