Working in restaurants as a person of color, I know what it’s like to be overqualified and underpaid and unseen. When Sohla El-Waylly, a talented chef and restaurateur, spoke out about racism and pay discrimination at Bon Appétit last year, and when she—alongside several colleagues—called on editor in chief Adam Rapoport to resign after a photo of him wearing brownface surfaced online, she stood up not just for herself but for all employees of color who have felt undervalued. By giving voice to experiences that are all too common in the food world, she helped spark a needed conversation about inequality in the industry and dispelled the notion that we are alone in our suffering. Sohla shows how to excel in one’s own truth, both in speaking up and in her inventive approach to food. She’s not afraid to change up traditional recipes to suit her specific tastes. Now, she’s working on new projects, including a YouTube culinary-challenge series called Stump Sohla. I’m excited to see where she takes her talents next.
Hall is a chef and writer