20 Badass Female Chefs TIME Overlooked (Slideshow)

Fatima Ali

Sous Chef: Café Centro

Home Base: New York City

Badass Because:
• Ali hails from Pakistan, where chefs aren't nearly as respected as they are in the West (there isn't even a word for "chef" in Urdu, only "cook"). She started cooking as a way to connect with her father after her parents' divorce, and discovered the Culinary Institute of America through a random Google search. Even though all her friends were applying to Ivy League schools, she remained committed to becoming a chef, got accepted, and excelled.
• She appeared on Food Network's Chopped, and even though she wasn't able to try her food in one round that revolved around pork-based olive loaf, she took the win, and with it $10,000.
• She's only 23 years old!

Michelle Bernstein

Chef/Owner: Michy's

Home Base: Miami

Badass Because:

• She took down Bobby Flay on the "sweet onion challenge" of Iron Chef America.

• She puts her Jewish-Argentinean roots and love of Spain to use at her funky, Latin-inspired restaurant and isn't afraid to mix genres when she wants.

• She's a former ballerina but has dishes such as fettuccine carbonara with pork belly, guanciale, poached egg, and St. André cheese on her menus. Also, ballerinas in general are badasses.

April Bloomfield

Chef/Co-Owner: The Spotted PigThe BreslinThe John Dory Oyster Bar, Salvation Taco, Tosca Café

Home Base: New York City

Badass Because:
• Her original goal was to be a policewoman, but when she missed the entrance exam, she went to work in a restaurant instead.
• She's more likely to be seen cooking on the line in her restaurants than in front of a television camera... except for a Gossip Girl cameo (OK, and that Jimmy Fallon guest spot).
• She's not afraid to put pig's ear or pork fat-fried peanuts on the menu.

Rebecca Charles

Chef/Owner: Pearl Oyster Bar

Home Base: New York City

Badass Because:

• She practically introduced New York City to the lobster roll when she opened Pearl Oyster Bar, a sliver of a restaurant on Cornelia Street with $120,000 in 1997, a restaurant that still draws lines before it opens to this day. And by virtue of Pearl's success, she spawned other lobster roll imitators (Mary's Fish Camp and Ed's Lobster Bar) and was, you could argue, the driving force that inspired a national love for this humble (yet decadent) sandwich.

• She can fire and successfully serve 27 lobster rolls at a time on the second turn with a martini in hand.

• Because she just is. Sit at the bar and watch her work that line and note how fast her staff moves. You better believe she's a badass.

Amanda Cohen

Chef/ Owner: Dirt Candy; Author: Dirt Candy: A Cookbook

Home Base: New York City

Badass Because:
• She's singing the praises of vegetarianism in a meat-dominated culinary scene, and kicking butt at it. Cohen worked at Angelica's Kitchen, Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, Blanche's Organic Café, Other Foods, Diner Bar, Teany, Pure Food and Wine, and Heirloom (which won Time Out New York's Reader's Choice Award for "Best Vegetarian Restaurant" under her), and then decided to strike out on her own.
• Dirt Candy, with its 18 seats, is completely vegetarian and one of New York's most daring restaurants. Instead of a political or ethical reason, it's vegetarian just because she wanted to celebrate vegetables. And that she does.
• Dirt Candy is also one of New York's greenest restaurants: All equipment is LEED-certified; everything is built with sustainable material; and she uses induction burgers, which give off less heat.
• Also, she wrote this killer reaction to TIME's feature.

Cat Cora

Co-creator, with the Walt Disney Corporation, of Kouzzina restaurant at Walt Disney World's BoardWalk Resort; Co-creator, with Macy's, of CCQ (Cat Cora's Que) in California's South Coast Plaza; Chef/Owner: Cat Cora's Kitchen at San Francisco's Terminal 2, Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Home Base: Santa Barbara, Calif.

Badass Because:

• In 2005 she became Food Network's first female Iron Chef (and first in franchise history, including in Japan).

• She lives an openly gay lifestyle with her partner and their four sons in front of millions of people and doesn't ever make a big deal out of it.

• She says that the future of food will be in space, where we can find a way to grow sustainable and organic food in zero gravity and will not be just freeze-dried.

Sonya Coté

Chef/Chef-Owner: Hillside Farmacy, Eden East, and Coté Catering

Home Base: Austin, Texas

Badass Because:

• She looks like a grown-up spaghetti Western-version of Shirley Temple, complete with blonde curls and dirndls, but runs her kitchen with Big Texas style, making her own croissants and charcuterie.

• She's not just a locavore, she's a raging local food maniac: Nothing says "from Texas" like antelope tartare, braised duck wings, and goat ribs. And yet, she grew up vegetarian at a Maharishi yogi hippie commune in Fairfield, Iowa.

Dominique Crenn

Chef/ Owner: Atelier Crenn

Home Base: San Francisco

Badass Because:
• She grew up and studied in France but decided to move to San Francisco to begin her cooking career in the States. She worked under Jeremiah Tower at Stars before packing up and becoming the first female executive chef in Indonesia, at the Jakarta Hotel Intercontinental. She only moved back to California because of political turmoil there.
•  In 2011 she opened Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, and the next year she became the first female chef in United States history to run a restaurant awarded two Michelin stars.

Traci Des Jardins

Chef/Chef-Owner: Jardinière, Mijita, Public House

Home Base: San Francisco

Badass Because:

• As a college dropout she petitioned star chef Joachim Splichal to give her a chance in his kitchen; he gave her two weeks to prove herself. "It was an atmosphere of militarism, aggression, abuse, yelling," she has said. But she made it.

• She left Splichal and went to France to study at the famed Troisgros, where she was the only woman of 25 kitchen apprentices. Again, she made it.

• She goes boar-hunting in Mongolia for inspiration.

• She created a recipe for space burritos.

Elizabeth Falkner

Chef-Owner: Formerly of Orson and Citizen Cake, Now at Corvo Bianco
Home Base: San Francisco
Badass Because:
• In 1994 Falkner was chosen by badass chef Traci Des Jardin to head the pastry department at Drew Nieporent's Rubicon.
• She gained popularity by creating avant-garde, design-driven cakes at her former bakery Citizen Cake.
• Proving her chops as a savory chef, she was the runner-up to Geoffrey Zakarian in season four of The Next Iron Chef.

Susan Feniger

Chef/Co-Owner: Susan Feniger's STREETBorder GrillBorder Grill Las VegasBorder Grill Downtown LABorder Grill Taco TruckBorder Grill Stop
Home Base: Los Angeles
Badass Because:
• She was the last woman standing in the second season of Top Chef Masters.
• She and business partner Mary Sue Milliken starred on the cooking show Too Hot Tamales long before celebrity chefs started dominating the television world.
• She has become an authority on Latin cuisine and street food, though the cuisine served at her restaurants is truly international.

Gabrielle Hamilton

Chef-Owner: Prune
Home Base: New York City
Badass Because:
• She turned a restaurant on a grungy block of Manhattan's East Village into one of the city's hippest dining rooms.
• "I am covered in scars" is her most repeated quote (and this includes the ritualistic body modification "slash and burn" cut she bought herself for a 35th birthday present, where a spot on her arm was cut, dabbed with alcohol, and set aflame).
• She wrote a New York Times best-seller, that's not a cookbook.

Stephanie Izard

Chef-Owner: Girl and the Goat, Little Goat Diner
Home Base: Chicago
Badass Because:
•She was the first woman to win Top Chef
•Nationally acclaimed publication Saveur chose Girl and the Goat to be the focus of the magazine's first full-scale restaurant review ever (and it's a glowing one, at that).
•Her restaurant received a James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant the year it opened.

Jennifer Jasinski

Chef/ Owner: Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen

Home Base: Denver

Badass Because:
•  She held her own in Wolfgang Puck's most boiler-room kitchens, including Spago in Las Vegas, Malibu, and Chicago, Postrio in San Francisco, and as corporate chef at his food company.
•  After her first restaurant, Rioja, opened in 2004, and after being named 2004's Colorado Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation, she could have rested on her laurels but instead bought a French bistro across the street, and opened another restaurant around the corner. Oh, yeah: she also won the James Beard Foundation's Award for Best Chef Southwest in 2013.
•  On the most recent season of Top Chef Masters, she made it all the way to the finale, edging out such notable chefs as David Burke, Richard Sandoval, and Sang Yoon. In the process, she won money for her charity, Work Options for Women. 

Anita Lo

Chef-Owner: Annisa
Home Base: New York City
Badass Because:
• When her restaurant Annisa (which initially received two stars from The New York Times) was destroyed by a fire in 2009, Lo re-opened the restaurant the following year and subsequently received another two-star review.
• She fought alongside a cast of peers (mostly males) in the first season of Top Chef Masters and beat Mario Batali in "Battle: Mushrooms" on Iron Chef America in 2005, becoming the first challenger to take down an Iron Chef in the series' history.

Barbara Lynch

Chef/Chef-Owner: No. 9 Park, B&G Oysters, The Butcher Shop, Menton, Stir, Drink, Sportello, 9 at Home; founder of Barbara Lynch Gruppo and the Barbara Lynch Foundation

Home Base: Boston

Badass Because:

• She grew up as one of seven kids raised by a single mother in a South Boston housing project and found her passion in a high school home ec class. She is also currently writing a memoir about the struggles she faced growing up.

• She went from narrowly avoiding welfare to employing more than 200 people.

• When a sous chef screws up, she's been known to throw a vase (and then cook at his or her wedding).

• She created the Barbara Lynch Foundation to help the Boston community eat healthier.

Andrea Reusing

Chef/Owner: Lantern; Author: Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes

Home Base: Chapel Hill, N.C.

Badass Because:
•  Lantern opened in 2002 and is still considered one of the best restaurants on the East Coast. Reusing was one of the first modern chefs to stress the importance of super-local ingredients, sourcing the majority of her ingredients from local farms and fisheries. Lantern has been named one of "America's Top 50 Restaurants" and "best farm-to-table restaurants" by Gourmet Magazine, one of "America's 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences" by Food & Wine, and "Restaurant of the Year" in 2009 by The News & Observer.
• With her "Lantern Table" series, she dives even deeper into the local food movement at Lantern's private event space and community kitchen, hosting everything from foraging dinners to guest dinners with the likes of Michael Ruhlman, David Chang, and Hominy Grill's Robert Stehling. She's giving some of the country's most notable chefs a chance to shine in Chapel Hill.
• While she could be making the rounds on Food Network and Bravo, she's completely dedicated to her kitchen and local ingredients.

Lydia Shire

Chef-Owner: ScampoTowne Stove and Spirits
Home Base: Boston
Badass Because:
• The original grande dame badass — she became the "salad girl" at one of Boston's most venerable French restaurants, Maison Robert, then took herself to a London cooking school, opened the Four Seasons Hotel dining room in Beverly Hills (becoming the prestigious chain's first-ever female executive chef to open a luxury property), then returned to Boston to open her own joint, the award-winning BIBA.
• In 2001 she took over Locke-Ober, a Boston institution that had refused to allow women in the main dining room for almost 100 years. She left to open Scampo and Towne Stove and Spirits, Boston mainstays.

Christina Tosi

Pastry Chef-Owner: Momofuku Milk Bar
Home Base: New York City
Badass Because:
• Crack Pie... enough said.
• Cereal milk has become a phenomenon worthy of knockoffs.
• According to David Chang in the introduction to the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook, "I hired Tosi to help us organize our 'office' — a desk in a hallway. Instead, she started organizing the company."
• Tosi has a culinary résumé that includes having worked in the kitchens of Bouley and WD~50 before blowing fellow cool kid Chang away with her chops at Momofuku Noodle Bar and Ssäm Bar.

Sue Zemanick

Executive Chef: Gautreau's, and soon Ivy

Home Base: New Orleans

Badass Because:

• She wasn't afraid to make friends (butting against the reality show cliché "I'm not here to make friends!") and help out other chefs, even when it cost it her time and points, on Top Chef Masters. And, she even jumped out of a plane for one of the episodes.

• Just weeks after she was promoted to executive chef at the storied New Orleans restaurant Gautreau's in 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the city. But she stayed, painstakingly helped rebuild the restaurant, and reopened the kitchen in 2007.

• She was a nominee for the 2013 James Beard Awards in the Best Chef South category for her work at Gautreau's.