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These Women Heat Up Restaurant Week! | Arts & Culture

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These Women Heat Up Restaurant Week!
These Women Heat Up Restaurant Week!

by Sally Zarafonetis | photos by Daniel E. Johnson

Out of a field of over 70 exemplary restaurants participating in Restaurant Week Grand Rapids this year there are 3 having female Executive Chefs. Talking to these insightful women on their career paths, we wondered if being in a mostly male dominated field has had any impact. What we learned is that these ambitious women have had an amazing and colorful culinary history. They share formal culinary training, yet they also learned the emotion of cooking from their extended family members (mothers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law) who taught them about food passed down from generation to generation.

Take for instance Jenna Arcidiacono, the Executive cochef with husband Maurizio at Amore Trattoria Italiana in northwest Grand Rapids. Arcidiacono met her husband in San Francisco at an Italian restaurant where she worked. It was love at first sight and after they married, Arcidiacono was transported further into the world of Italian cooking when she spent 3 years in Italy with her husband honing her culinary craft from Maurizio’s mother. The apprentice chef spent time hearing stories and learning recipes that only Italian mothers pass along to their daughters and sometimes their sons. Now in Grand Rapids, the couple have created an exciting new restaurant where they lovingly prepare fresh homemade pastas and dishes using seasonal local products. Arcidiacono likes to experiment and add creative twists...