Celebrating women at The Chef and I

international womens day logo 2017New logo High Res Dec 2012

As a female CEO and entrepreneur, I am excited to celebrate International Women’s Day with all of my fellow rockstar women colleagues and friends in our community! As a member of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), FemCity (an incredible global business hub for  women) and Cable (the premier leadership organization for women’s professional advancement), I enjoy spending time growing and learning with other amazing women in our industry and others.

Today, I want to personally than the women employed as leaders with The Chef and I, LLC – they tirelessly work to help create and grow a brand that is honest, unique, empowering and successful in our community. Please help me in congratulating them on being part of the growth and accomplishments my company has experienced over the past nine years! These women are part of my team, and my family. They are very special. I’d love to learn about women who are special to you, as we celebrate women making a difference acorss the world today!

Carol Yates, Director of Sales Carol at the beach

When I first met Carol, I knew instantly that I wanted to work with her. I crossed my fingers that she would take the leap with a business that showed promise – at the time, we were much smaller and still growing. She saw something in us that allowed her to make that decision, and I am thankful for her every day. As our Director of Sales, Carol has helped grow the company to what we are today; a large scale catering division that serves over 400 events a year (all of which she is involved in) and a wonderful restaurant and stellar community of clients and fans.

Carol is one of those people that insists on excellence, from herself and others. As an amazing leader and influencer, she has continued to inspire me to be a better leader as well. She makes me proud to be part of this team, and is one of the most genuine, honest, intelligent, driven people I’ve ever called my teammate and friend. I know that people like Carol help inspire other women to never give up, stay true to themselves and their company/brand, and to believe in what they are doing. Carol, thank you for choosing me…for choosing us as your second family.


Shirley Agattas, Director of Catering shirley in epcot

This firecracker has helped us manage an enormous amount of details, logistics, staff and time thoughout the years, and never ceases to amaze me with her positive energy and dedication. As one of my very best friends and a very respected member of our management team, Shirley is the one who ensures each event goes off without a hitch, and each event is special and unique to the client. If there are ever any challenges, she handles them with professionalism quickly and helps to continuously create and improve processes to improve.

 We have had wonderful conversations about our company’s growth together, and I am excited to have her as a vested director in what is now a bigger ‘small business’ with a new project on the horizon that she will also be a part of. I feel excited and lucky to have her on this journey, and know that she is the kind of woman that represents our gender and her generation exceptionally well. She is my rock, and our company’s ‘glue’. Ask any team member, client, partner, fan or friend of The Chef and I about Shirley. They will instantly smile. She is the kind of person that helps me remember to stand in as much light as we can, and enjoy every moment. We should all be so lucky as to have a Shirley in our lives.


Chef Liz Standridge                                        liz wedding

Anyone who has taken one of our cooking classes with Chef Liz can attest to the incredible way she puts one at ease around her. As an extremely talented chef and instructor, Liz creates an environment that is enjoyable and entertaining, educational and immersive. She is so wonderful with our students, whether they are an eight-year-old ready to dive into the world of cooking, or a seasoned chef looking for new tools to add to their culinary tool box. She helps folks believe in themselves, and encourages them no matter their skill level or walk of life. This is the kind of professional and educator I love to work with, as they only help all of us strive for greatness, while remembering to be gracious and is always happy.

Liz is a wonderful leader, team member and creator. I feel that her work is art, and if you’ve had any of her insane desserts, you know my bragging rights are valid. I often wonder how we were lucky enough to have her join our family; as a former Viking instructor and chef throughout the area, she brings a delicious vibrant energy to the table, and to our company. We all respect her work and dedication. In today’s world, when you find a strong female in her industry that is intensely focused but somehow, at the same time, completely centered and calm, you need to hang out with them. And if you are very, very lucky, work with them. Thanks Chef Liz for teaching and inspiring, for creating and loving. We love you too!

Thank you again to these and other women that make me want to contribute more, inspire more, learn more and teach more. I celebrate them, and each of the wonderful women reading this today. In today’s world, it is extremely important to recognize what a profound impact the entire female gender has on our business, our culture, and our lives. For more info on International women’s Day, please visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com/ and learn how you can #BeBoldForChange.

Please also accept our invitation to enjoy 25% off all wine bottles at The Chef and I tonight in honor of International Women’s Day! Ladies, if you dine with us tonight and buy a bottle, you automatically get 25% off. Call 615.730.8496 to make reservations. Email me at erica@thechefandicatering.com as well and I can take care of you. Thank you for being you! And thanks for believing…Bon Appetit! ~ Erica Rains, CEO ~ The Chef and I




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