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What We Learned from Austin Female Leaders in the Hospitality Industry

Reflections from a Community Dinner Series Held at Olamaie


We recently attended a dinner hosted by Cherry Bombe and OpenTable at Olamaie. A community that celebrates women in the world of food and drink, Cherry Bombe also includes a publication, a podcast network, and occasionally dinner parties such as this one. Their stop in Austin was part of a multi-series dinner called Sit With Us that highlights four female leaders of Open Table restaurants, with the incredible local chef Amanda Turner being the local fuel at Olamaie. 

Community + Connection

The night celebrated the power of community and connection, and we enjoyed a beautiful meal prepared by Chef Amanda Turner and her team. The dinner featured Texas produce in elevated, modern Southern cuisines like heirloom tomatoes with buttermilk whip and grilled pork chop with cherry relish. The plates were stunning and delicious, with the Texas cherries incorporated in most of the dishes aligning with the bright theme of the event (and, of course, Cherry Bombe as host). 

Attendees included local members of the “bombesquad,” or Cherry Bombe fans and readers, as well as influential Austin hospitality leaders. We came away inspired by what women are doing for Austin’s food and drink scene. Below are some quotes from favorite conversations throughout the evening. 

Amanda Turner of Olamaie introducing the event and dinner to come.

Thoughts from Female Industry Leaders

“As a woman in the industry, it’s hard to feel like you belong in this space — even when you do. There are so few of us, and we have to hold hands and invest in each other.” 
— Chef Jo Chan, Top Chef Contender and former executive chef of Eberly

“I’m ambitious without wanting to take over the world.”
Stephanie Steele, Owner of Tiny Grocer 

“For us women in the hospitality business, we have to stick together and support each other. And know that we belong here.” 
Kristina Weiss, Director of South Central for Open Table

An local favorite for fine Southern dining, Olamaie.

Women Supporting Women

These women are paving the way for future women in Austin who want to succeed as chefs and leaders in our local food space. A big thanks to all these women fighting the good fight and to Cherry Bombe and OpenTable for helping elevate their work and voices. 

Get to know more about the bombesquad. There are actually plenty bombesquad members in Austin who host local meet-ups and events. Don’t miss future special events at Olamaie, including the next in their Southern Exposure Dinner Series which will be held on Tuesday, July 25.

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