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Celebrating New Orleans’ Talented Women in Hospitality

NOLA Hospitality

Despite the omnipresent focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, it's still Women's History Month so let's take time to celebrate the achievements of some passionate, savvy women NOLA chefs, sommeliers and restaurateurs.

 

 

 

NINA COMPTON, CHEF/OWNER, COMPÈRE LAPIN AND BYWATER AMERICAN BISTRO


Photo credit: Denny Culbert
A native of St. Lucia, Chef Nina Compton is Chef/Owner of New Orleans’ gastronomic gem, Compère Lapin, along with her newest restaurant concept, Bywater American Bistro (BABs). Compère Lapin has garnered multiple accolades since opening in 2015 – both nationally and locally – for Compton’s one-of-a-kind Caribbean-inspired Louisiana cuisine, and BABs has already garnered national praise since opening in Spring 2018. The talented toque has been named one of Food & Wine magazine’s "Best New Chefs 2017", and in 2018 Chef Compton earned the ultimate culinary honor by being awarded "Best Chef: South" by The James Beard Foundation. Compère Lapin is the first New Orleans restaurant to receive the prestigious Spirited Award® by the Tales of The Cocktail Foundation – honored as the "Best American Hotel Bar" in 2019.
 

EMERY WHALEN, CEO/OWNER, JACK ROSE, HOT TIN & BAYOU BAR

Photo credit: Andrea Behrends
“Forbes 30 Under 30” female powerhouse Emery Whalen, the CEO/Owner of QED Hospitality which operates all of the award-winning restaurants and bars at the Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans and Thompson Nashville. A true industry dynamo and known risk-taker, Whalen is an active member of the community who advocates for female empowerment in the industry and is paving the way for women entrepreneurs climbing up the hospitality ladder. The savvy young entrepreneur oversees Jack Rose, named the #1 “Best Hotel Restaurant 2019” by  USA TODAY 10Best; Hot Tin – the wildly-popular rooftop bar; and Bayou Bar - a tavern-style bar filled with history and memories. Whalen is an active panelist and staunch advocate for women’s rights in the hospitality industry. In an attempt to foster a positive female-forward work environment, it’s no surprise that all of QED’s Food & Beverage Directors are women.

AMY MEHRTENS, CHEF DE CUISINE, COPPER VINE

Photo credit: Copper Vine
Chef de Cuisine at Copper Vine Chef Amy Mehrtens is constantly cooking up dishes inspired by the vibrant flavors and techniques of the South. Growing up with a mother who was a Chef and a father in the military gave her the opportunity to learn about many different cultures and cuisines around the world. Born in Germany, with several years in Japan, Mehrtens has also lived in California, Virginia, Georgia, and Iowa and continues to travel frequently to collect first-hand culinary education and gain inspiration. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and a certified introductory sommelier, Mehrtens has over a decade of experience in the service industry, including Sous Chef at Commander’s Palace and Interim Executive Chef at Café Adelaide. 
 

ALEXANDRA MINTON, BEVERAGE DIRECTOR/SOMMELIER, JACK ROSE, HOT TIN & BAYOU BAR

Photo credit: Jack Rose
Alexandra Minton, one of Wine Enthusiast’s “40 Under 40”, joined QED Hospitality as Sommelier of Jack Rose in 2018, overseeing all aspects of the wine program. Minton brings with her more than 10 years of experience in fine dining and casual establishments and is a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Certified Beer Server through the Certified Cicerone Program. In her current role, Minton highlights unique wines and makers from under-the-radar regions, with a large focus on domestic sourcing. She takes a great deal of pride in surprising her guests with purposeful, eco-friendly selections that are readily accessible to help further their personal educations and palates.

AMANDA TOUPS, CO-OWNER, TOUPS MEATERY

Photo credit: Toups Meatery
Amanda Toups is co-owner of award-winning restaurant Toups Meatery in New Orleans. Wife and business partner of Chef/Author Isaac Toups, Amanda has been managing all business operations and marketing for the restaurants and her husband’s career for over a decade. In 2012, Amanda and Chef Isaac set out to open their first restaurant, Toups Meatery in mid-city New Orleans – a Cajun rustic eatery showcasing Isaac’s roots and passion. Since then, Amanda has run the restaurant while simultaneously managing Isaac’s career and releasing The New York Times’ “Best Cookbooks of Fall 2018,” Chasing the Gator – Isaac Toups & the New Cajun Cooking (October 23, 2018 Little, Brown and Company). The savvy and sassy entrepreneur manages to balance the multi-faceted business, while keeping the Toups family running.

 

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