Amanda Cohen is the James Beard-nominated chef and owner of Dirt Candy, the award-winning vegetable restaurant on New York City's Lower East Side.

She is also one of the Iron Chefs on Iron Chef Canada alongside Susur Lee, Lynn Crawford, Rob Feenie, and Hugh Acheson.

Dirt Candy was the first vegetable-focused restaurant in the city and the leader of the vegetable-forward movement. 

She was nominated again in 2019 by the James Beard Foundation for “Best Chef: New York City”.

Please scroll down to read an excerpt from an interview and portrait session we did with her at Dirt Candy.

“I don't think the boy’s club is in the kitchens, the boy's club is the media, and that's where it's really hard for a woman to break in. I still think women don't get as much coverage, I still think the Press is a boy's club. There's a huge number of female journalists, but they still cover the men more, the men get the stories, they seem to find the men more interesting.

We still don't value women in this society.

We've seen it happen [the most recent Presidential election]. Because we're so undervalued, we're not seen as valuable in stories and I guess journalists don't believe that people want to read about us. It's a never-ending circle, right? You get the press, you get the funding, you get the awards - you get more funding. If you take away any one of those you're going to have a much harder time succeeding.

There's been a lot of discussion about whether or not there should be separate [cooking] awards for women, and even though in theory I don't agree, I think that right now it's a necessary evil, because those are the only ways that women get their names out there.

Awards get butts in the seats.”

- Amanda Cohen