Let’s shine a spotlight on the women who have had an impact on Orlando’s culinary community! Read on to take a peek at our list of local superstars — a mix of legends, rising personalities, and behind-the-scenes magic-makers, all working to make Central Florida a more delicious place to live.
Chef Trina Gregory-Propst
A self-described BossBabe, Trina, along with her wife, Va Propst, owns Orlando’s Se7en Bites and has been featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives as well as other TV shows. She also co-hosts a monthly market called Biscuits & BossBabes Pop-Up for female “makers.” Participants are invited to set up their booths on her restaurant’s patio for free, and she uses this opportunity to give advice to the dozen or so participants each month. “Here’s the reality,” she says. “If you want anything in life, you’re not going to get it sitting on the sidelines.”
Chef Mary Westfall
Mary’s mission is simple: Make it easy for people to love plant-based food. With offerings like chik’n and biscuit sandwiches, spicy buffalo wings, smothered fries, and sausage gravy and biscuits, she gives the Southern comfort foods we all know and love an animal-free twist. Stop by Winter Park Biscuit Co. at East End Market for a taste or grab a copy of her cookbook, Nom Yourself!
Working as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, Etc., Dianne has delivered meals to seniors in Seminole County for 30 years. She offers them more than just food and a friendly face. She helps to coordinate everything from home repairs and lawn maintenance to personal assistance with health-related matters.
As a senior adviser to 4 Roots Farm Campus, Sara focuses on programs that offer agricultural education. The 18-acre campus in Orlando’s Packing District, currently under construction, will eventually be able to reach everyone across Central Florida — from young children to professional farmers — with its state-of-the-art working farm, events space, classroom building, 12,000-square-foot greenhouse, farm-to-table restaurant, and more.
Ever notice the beautiful interiors of Reyes Mezcaleria, The Osprey, Seito, or The Monroe? You have Sue to thank for their stylish design! As co-owner of these restaurants (along with her husband, Jason), she understands the importance of a meaningful space. “I really enjoy putting a lot of thought behind how each and every square inch gets experienced,” she shares.
As fishmonger at Wild Ocean Seafood in Titusville, Cinthia loves getting her hands dirty as much as she loves educating others on sustainability issues. She is on the advisory panel for South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and is active in the Southeastern Fisheries Association. Plus, she furthers her own education with certification courses, including a recent one on shark identification. “One of the best ways to keep the industry thriving is to buy local,” she explains.
Heidi’s parents started Puff ’n Stuff Catering in 1974. Now, as director of sales, she focuses on corporate and convention events. The company handles events from a small wedding to a gathering for hundreds with Ferrari at Sebring International Raceway. Whatever they’re doing, they hope to create a culinary experience and truly connect with their clients. “It’s our passion for people, our passion for food, a special bond with customers that makes us successful,” Heidi says.
As co-owner of Black Rooster Taqueria (with her husband and head chef, John), Juliana handles the ins-and-outs of daily business. Her responsibilities include social media, marketing, and PR as well as hiring, training materials, business development, and front-of-house operations. Their inspiration for Black Rooster was in part due to a “food Renaissance” in Orlando: “We saw a need for authentic Mexican cuisine, and we knew we could bring it to life along with a fun and vibrant atmosphere where people could feel like they were in a small taqueria in Mexico or Los Angeles.”
Check out the Edible Orlando Summer 2021 issue for the full write-up.
Stay tuned later this month for Part II of Women + Food: Local Superstars!