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Love & Salt Owner Shares in James Beard Foundation Recognition

Oct 12, 2021 10:02AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Dina Samson, left, and Sylvie Gabriele, two of the cofounders of Regarding Her, at the James Beard Foundation awards ceremony.

A Manhattan Beach restaurateur is part of a group of women chefs and restaurant owners who recently earned honors from the prestigious James Beard Foundation.

Love & Salt owner Sylvie Gabriele is a cofounder of Regarding Her, which the James Beard Foundation recognized for its contributions to women in the restaurant industry.

Regarding Her is a non-profit that was formed during the pandemic and is devoted to the advancement and empowerment of women restaurateurs .

The organization strives to create opportunities for connection and success by way of programs that support, unite and uplift female food and beverage entrepreneurs in Los Angeles and beyond. The group offers women-owned culinary businesses access to grants, industry-focused resources, and virtual and physical events, including an annual restaurant festival.

In June, the organization gave out 15 grants of $10,000 each to area women food and beverage entrepreneurs in the L.A. area.

The James Beard Foundation honored Regarding Her as part of its "Stories of Resilience and Leadership," which replaced the traditional awards for 2021.

"I feel super happy, excited, and grateful for the recognition of Regarding Her, not so much for myself, but much more for the exposure of our work," Gabriele told DigMB. "We have built this amazing organization doing inspiring and revolutionary work that benefits both consumers and our sisters. It blows my mind that we have grown nationally in less than a year."

Gabriele continued: "We have ambitious goals being realized at record pace with the support of big corporate and institutional partnerships and our wonderful sisterhood. To be recognized by the James Beard Foundation really affirms our work and I am enormously grateful for that. Not only has this work uplifted me, but it has given me special relationships with my co-founders and other sisters that I would've never had without Regarding Her."

Awards Recognize Group Contributions

This year's James Beard Foundation awards looked different from previous years, and they will continue to look different in the future. 

Bay Area-based Chef Tanya Holland, the chair of the awards committee of the James Beard Foundation, said that the awards increasingly seek to recognize diverse groups of culinary innovators, and teams rather than individuals. 

"The last 18 months have been excruciating for independent restaurants," she said in introducing the award. "But the pause the pandemic forced on us has also offered opportunities to grow."

Holland continued: "These awards center around teams more than individuals. That’s not an accident because it takes a group, a neighborhood, a community to withstand the kinds of crises we face. Accomplishments are never the work of one person."

Writer/producer and food enthusiast Phil Rosenthal, star of Netflix's "Somebody Feed Phil," was a major donor to Regarding Her and spoke about the organization in a video honoring its efforts.

"Women have been devalued, underused, even abused in the [restaurant] industry," Rosenthal said in a video highlighting Regarding Her. "I believe the world would be better if women ran most things, if not all things. What’s good for the world is good for a restaurant."

Regarding Her Looks Forward

Regarding Her is now continuing and expanding its work, according to Gabriele. 

Future plans for the organization include: 

  • Building a national and regional marketing platform to amplify supported businesses; and a business accelerator fund that will roll out first in major cities and then regionally.
  • Building a community grant program to raise funds to support related causes with win-win donation opportunities that support the local organization and are break-even opportunities for, and not a drain on women-owned restaurants.
  • Working on an industry rebuilding initiative to push the evolution of the hospitality (food & beverage) industry with a strategic action plan aimed at promoting success for women in the business, to be implemented at the organizational, corporate and individual level. 

 For more information, visit Regarding Her.

James Beard Foundation Recognition of Regarding Her

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