A Fine Line, a documentary chronicling the challenges and triumphs female chefs face in a male-dominated environment, will host a screening at the National Hellenic Museum, 333 South Halsted Street, in Chicago on Thursday, March 21st. The event is open to the public and tickets to the event may be purchased via Eventbrite.
Michelin Star Chef and James Beard Award Winner Carrie Nahabedian, who is the co-owner of Naha and Brindille Restaurants in Chicago, will be honored during the event. Mother and daughter team Karen and Gina Stefani of Inspired Catering and Events will also be recognized. Inspired Catering and Events is a nearly 40-year Chicago family-run business, and will be catering the event. A cocktail hour featuring local food and wine will start at 6:00 p.m., followed by the screening of the film at 7:00 p.m. and concluding with a panel discussion at the end of the film. Other participants in the evening include Valerie James, star of A Fine Line; Joanna James, filmmaker of A Fine Line; Kate Miller Spencer, Founder of Cookgirl Nation; Chef Q. Ibraheem and Anita Knotts of Calamos Wealth Management.
“The wine/hors d’oeuvre receptions, screenings and panel discussions around A Fine Line will spotlight women restaurateurs, chefs, winemakers, farmers and food activists while engaging in meaningful conversations about diversity, women leadership and how we can all live our truths doing what we love while having a meaningful impact,” said Joanna James, the film’s director and producer.
The documentary, which explores why less than 7% of head chefs and restaurant owners are women despite having traditionally held the central role in the kitchen, hosted its first screening at the Culinary Institute of America March 1st, and is being followed by screenings throughout the month of March in Boston, Burlington, Washington D.C., Dallas, Denver, Savannah, Thibodaux (LA), San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma. In addition to Carrie Nahabedian, panel discussions will feature film participants and prominent chefs including Cat Cora, Lidia Bastianich, Tanya Holland, Tiffany Faison, Leah Chase, Mashama Bailey, as well as a host of civic leaders and activists in each location.
The film interweaves insights from female chefs with a central narrative of a small-town restaurateur, Valerie James, who is also the filmmaker’s mother. Valerie details how she remains steadfastly focused on doing what she loves - a mission she has relentlessly pursued while raising two kids with the odds stacked mightily against her.
A Fine Line also opens up a timely discussion about equality in the culinary field and beyond, which is why the filmmakers behind the documentary have launched an impact campaign to raise awareness around the issues female chefs faced such as paid family leave and the importance of mentorship, with the mission of increasing women in culinary and hospitality leadership. The impact campaign endeavors to reduce the gender disparity in corporate food services and the hospitality industry building a model that can be scaled across all industries. Illinois is one of the states that does not have its own Family and Medical Leave law; the impact campaign hopes to work with influencers and legislators to raise awareness about how this lack of legislation impacts female chefs and workers throughout the culinary industry.
The team behind A Fine Line has built a coalition of leaders in the culinary, tech, film distribution and educational fields to seed and expand the Impact Campaign. The film has already been the centerpiece of impactful screening events in locations ranging from Silicon Valley to New York and Nantucket. These events both recognize women across industries for their achievements and enlisting them to pay it forward through mentorship to significantly increase women in leadership.