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Powerhouse Women in the Kitchen

Devin Braddock, Rita Bernhardt, Kate Sigel

Despite the old adage, “A woman’s place is in the kitchen”, professional kitchens to this day continue to be male-dominated. With the total workforce of chefs and head cooks at 459K, just over 77% of that is male. And male chefs and head cooks, on average, make $10,000 more annually than their female counterparts. But these statistics don’t keep female chefs away from the challenge of navigating the hospitality world.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we highlight three female culinary leaders whose passion and perseverance helped them to become commercial kitchen powerhouses.

CHEF DEVIN BRADDOCK - Head Pastry Chef of Michael Beltran’s Family of Restaurants

Photo credit: Blue Shell Media
Recently appointed Pastry Chef Devin Braddock joins the robust culinary team that makes up Ariete Hospitality Group. Braddock was tapped to oversee the bread and pastry division for Ariete, Chug’s, Taurus Beer & Whiskey House and Navé. Boasting an impressive resumé with more than ten years of industry experience, Braddock embraces her newest venture working alongside celebrated Miami Chef Michel Beltran at his beloved Coconut Grove outposts.

After moving to Miami from Tampa to enroll at Johnson and Wales University in 2009, Chef Braddock quickly discovered that she would benefit more from hands-on experience that comes from being thrust into a busy kitchen. She shifted her focus and accepted her first pastry position at Sunny Isles Italian eatery, Café L’attito and didn’t look back.

Soon after, Braddock relocated to Wynwood Kitchen and Bar, where she served as Pastry Chef for three years. She wore many different hats in this position, working her way through each role in the kitchen and familiarizing herself with the ins and outs of the industry. This was during the transformative period that Wynwood experienced, and Braddock was able to witness firsthand the birth of the burgeoning arts district we know it as today and the culinary strides that rippled in its wake.

In 2012, she accepted a role under the tutelage of James Beard-nominated pastry legend Hedy Goldsmith at Michael’s Genuine in the Design District. “Under her guidance I learned the majority of what I know about pastry today. She taught me the basics of working in a restaurant and how to develop and execute a menu, while simultaneously honing in on my creativity,” Braddock says. Moving forward, she accepted the role of Pastry Chef de Partie at Alter under the esteemed culinary team of Brad and Soraya Kilgore. During her time there, she learned a wealth of knowledge about molecular gastronomy and gives credit to the talented duo for her newfound organizational skills.

Next, she ascended to the role of Corporate Executive Pastry Chef at Chef Daniel Serfer’s Miami concepts, Mignonette and Blue Collar. It was here that she was allowed full creative license and quickly asserted her unique style into Serfer’s menus. She became known and loved for creating dishes that convey a sense of childhood nostalgia for the more refined palate. The team then went on to create a pop-up ice cream shop called Tricycle where Braddock churned out intricately delicious confections like Opalys Stracciatella and Cranberry ice cream, Molten Brownie Batter cookies, and Café con Leche pie on a stick.

Now, Chef Devin Braddock is working alongside one of Miami’s great young rising Chefs, Michael Beltran. “I’m excited to work with a team that really sees eye to eye with me on the passion, integrity and hard work that goes into making good food.”

RITA BERNHARDT - Executive Chef, Satterfield’s Restaurant

Photo credit: Satterfield's
Executive Chef of Satterfield’s restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama, Rita Bernhardt graduated as class Valedictorian from Oregon’s Western Culinary Institute in 2010. After earning her diploma and working on the line at South Park Seafood in downtown Portland, the aspiring Chef headed to New Orleans where she accepted a position at Domenica, a Crescent City hotspot under the former Besh Restaurant Group (now BRG) umbrella. After working under acclaimed Chef Alon Shaya, Bernhardt wanted to expand her culinary prowess and took a position cooking at Bacchanal – New Orleans’ famed casually-cool wine bar and eatery. From there the talented toque transitioned to another BRG concept, Restaurant August, where she honed her skills at one of the finest restaurants in the city.

In 2014, Bernhardt and husband/partner William Barial, started their own catering company and supperclub, The PDR, and later opened a brick and mortar outpost of the same name in New Orleans’ food hall St. Roch Market. In 2015, the power couple was named two of  New Orleans Magazine’s “People to Watch”. After a stint at the famed Dick & Jenny’s, a job offer in 2018 lured Bernhardt back to Domenica where she was appointed Chef de Cuisine, focusing on Northern regional Italian fare with a Gulf Coast twist.

In 2019, Bernhardt and Barial relocated to Birmingham, Alabama with their young daughter to run the iconic restaurant Satterfield’s. Chef Bernhardt showcases global cuisine with a southern sensibility and is injecting her New Orleans experience into the kitchen and onto the menu at Satterfield’s.

CHEF KATE SIGEL - Pâtissière Oversees Pastry Division for Marsh House, Killebrew, and L.A. Jackson

Photo credit: QED Hospitality Group
Newly appointed Executive Pastry Chef Kate Sigel joins the powerhouse culinary team that makes up QED Hospitality. Sigel was tapped to oversee the pastry division for Killebrew, Marsh House, and L.A. Jackson at the beloved Thompson Nashville. Boasting an impressive resumé with a decade of industry experience, Sigel embraces her newest venture in the Music City. 

According to QED CEO/Co-Owner Emery Whalen, "We are thrilled to have Chef Sigel join the team. We know that she will embrace Nashville, and all that this wonderful city and community has to offer. We can all look forward to watching her personality shine through in her desserts."

A Chicago native, Sigel received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in interior design from Harrington College of Design but quickly realized interior design was not her true calling. It was her thirst for creativity along with experience in the hospitality industry that led Sigel to enroll in pastry school. During her time at the French Pastry School in Chicago, Sigel discovered that her true passion lies in pastry arts and hoped to one day turn it into a career.

Shortly after graduating pastry school she accepted her first position at legendry Chicago eatery Bistro 110 (Levy Restaurant Group). After its closure, Sigel moved to Northern Ireland where she continued to hone her skills for five months. Upon her return to Chicago, she agreed to help the executive chef from Bistro 110 open his own outpost, Chez Moi while simultaneously tending to her very own custom cake business, Kate’s Cakes Chicago. In 2013, Sigel accepted a position at Rush Hospital, where she oversaw the pastry division for the in-house catering and retail outlets.

In 2015, Sigel moved to the Pacific Northwest where she began her second cake business, Sweet Tooth Cake Co. At this time, Sigel also took on the role of pastry director for the Huxley Wallace Collective where she assisted with the openings of Great State Burgers, Bar Noroeste, and Saint Helens. Sigel was later tapped to serve as executive pastry chef of the newly opened Thompson Seattle, overseeing pastry for Scout PNW restaurant, The Nest, and Conversation restaurant all the while introducing an in-house bread program, and a wedding and events pastry program.

Now, Chef Kate Sigel is pleased to announce her role as executive pastry chef at Thompson Nashville, where she hopes to delight guests with her creativity and nod to nostalgia. “I’m excited to begin this new chapter of my life in a new city, alongside QED’s talented team,” says Sigel. “I’m eager to evolve as a chef here in Nashville and look forward to sharing my story through my pastries.” Her whimsical style and playful flavor combinations will soon become a crowd favorite as her desserts make their debut in the Music City.

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