Chef/Owner Lindsay Autry, The Regional
Photo credit is Alissa Dragun Photography
Tell me a little bit about your background personally and professionally.
I am originally from Fayetteville, NC and grew up surrounded by food. My family had a peach orchard where we spent our summers selling peaches and homemade ice cream at a roadside stand. I started participating in cooking competitions through 4-H when I was a child and really fell in love with cooking. While attending Johnson & Wales University in Charleston and Miami, I worked in a variety of restaurants and hotels to gain experience.
How did being a woman affect your professional path/path to leadership?
I was fortunate to work under Chef Michelle Bernstein for many years early on in my career. Even though I worked for a female chef, most of the time, we were the only two women in the kitchen. As women in a kitchen, we have to establish ourselves just as anyone else. Being efficient and valuable keeps you moving in the right direction.
How do women positively impact Florida’s hospitality industry?
There are many women in the hospitality industry here in South Florida, and I am so glad to see more up and coming from the next generation. There are many more women-owned operations today than even 10 years ago. I find it refreshing as I think women bring a different approach to hospitality. Not better, but different.
What qualities make a great female leader?
A great leader, female or male, is often characterized by empathy, passion, and the ability to motivate others to reach a common goal.
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
Women’s History Month is a celebration of all of the women that have paved the way for our generation and to recognize the ones that are making impacts in their respective communities currently.
Is there a woman from history who you admire? Why?
There are so many to choose from! For me, on a more micro level, I would say both of my grandmothers. They both were the first women in their families to hold a profession outside of the household and were tremendous role models for me.
Why is it important for more women to be recognized in leadership roles?
It is important that we support each other as women to recognize that the glass ceiling isn’t as durable as it used to be.
What piece of advice would you give to women coming up in hospitality?
To make yourself valuable within your current role, and strive to be the best in what you do. Treat others kindly, as kindness gets you much further than expected because it makes you pleasant to work with. Everyone loves that!
What professional, personal or community service driven accomplishments are you proud of?
I am most proud of the relationships and mentoring that I have had the honor of contributing to the next generation of chefs. It is often a scary feeling to lose a valuable employee, but it gives me a “full circle” feeling to see my former staff go on and become executive chefs or general managers and successful in their path.