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LA Women Restaurateurs Create a Virtual Food Festival

90+ Women-owned restaurants unite for 10 Days RE:Her

By Staff Writer

Women restaurateurs from across Los Angeles have created a new charitable organization featuring 10 days of unique collaborations, thematic menus, and one-on-one conversations between female industry leaders

Its debut initiative, a food festival called 10 Days RE:Herwill feature 10 days of unique collaborations, thematic menus, and one-on-one conversations between female industry leaders. 10 Days RE:Her kicks off on January 21, the anniversary of the groundbreaking Women’s March of 2017, and runs through January 30, with scheduled programming to be finalized by early January. Pending local dining restrictions, aspects of the festival will likely take place virtually and remotely.

RE:Her was conceptualized by a cohort of women restaurateurs in LA–Lien Ta (All Day Baby), Sandra Cordero (Gasolina Cafe), Sylvie Gabriele (Love & Salt), Bricia Lopez (Guelaguetza), Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill, Socalo), Kimberly Prince (Hotville Chicken), Dina Samson (Rossoblu, Superfine Pizza), Heather Sperling (Botanica), and Brittney Valles (Guerrilla Tacos)–in response to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on communities and small businesses, especially independent restaurants. RE:Her aims to eventually provide grants, mentorship, and resources to female-identifying restaurant owners throughout Los Angeles, and beyond.

“Over the last 9+ months, we’ve witnessed the total inaction on the part of national leadership to provide meaningful support for independent restaurants, coupled with the outsized negative impact that COVID-19 has had on women in the workforce,” says Lien Ta, RE:Her’s Committee Lead. “We created RE:Her to not only drive business for participating restaurants during a historically slow period, but also to funnel cash, via a grant program, directly to women operators across town who are struggling to keep their businesses afloat.”

OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, has signed on as a founding sponsor, lending support to takeout opportunities and collaborations during 10 Days RE:Her. OpenTable’s sponsorship has enabled the launch of RE:Her’s grant program, which will distribute cash grants to women-owned restaurants in Los Angeles County impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants can be used by the recipient to sustain their business however they see fit: past-due rent, bills owed to vendors, winterizing the outdoor patio, payroll costs, or any of the myriad costs required to operate a restaurant during these challenging times. With a fundraising goal of $500,000, RE:Her continues to actively seek sponsorships and donations to distribute as grants to support participating restaurants.

“With recent closures and government mandates, Los Angeles restaurants are suffering tremendously. We’re proud to join forces with the RE:Her team and help women-owned restaurants,” said Susan Lee, SVP of Growth. “OpenTable will continue to do everything we can to support our partners and all restaurants as they navigate this extraordinarily difficult operating environment.”

“PPP funding was an imperfect and short-lived band-aid for those who received it (and so few independent restaurants did). State and local support has been woefully negligible, at best. So we’re taking matters into our own hands and doing whatever we can generate some relief for the hard-working, indispensable women who make LA’s restaurant scene so vibrant,” says RE:Her board member Heather Sperling.

RE:Her is an affiliate of Let’s Talk, an industry group founded and led by Rohini Dey and supported by the James Beard Foundation. Let’s Talk unites over 250 women restaurateurs across 10 cities; the LA chapter is hosted by Mary Sue Milliken and Dina Samson. During monthly Zoom meetings, Let’s Talk members discussed various ways that women-owned restaurants have been banding together to drum up business (and generally survive) in cities across the country. The idea for RE:Her was born of out these discussions and ways to take further action to support the industry in Los Angeles.

RE:Her’s board is comprised of Lien Ta (All Day Baby), Sandra Cordero (Gasolina Cafe), Sylvie Gabriele (Love & Salt), Bricia Lopez (Guelaguetza), Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill, Socalo), Kimberly Prince (Hotville Chicken), Dina Samson (Rossoblu, Superfine Pizza), Heather Sperling (Botanica), and Brittney Valles (Guerrilla Tacos). Lien (’17), Sandra (’18), and Dina (’20) are alumni of JBF’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. Headshots of each board member can be found here.

RE:Her merch is available for purchase online here, with all proceeds benefitting the organization.

For more information, visit regardingherfood.com. Follow on Instagram @RegardingHerFood.

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