Center Stage 2022

We’re looking for up and coming female cooks and chefs from across the United States to participate in our Center Stage 2022 program. Through a series of rounds we will learn about you as we look to find our “class of 2022” to be sent on an all expense paid trip to the MAPP Restaurant Reset Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL on April 24-26, 2022. You will have the opportunity to be mentored by a stellar line-up of chefs as well as attend all of the conference activities as a VIP. At the final night’s Food, Wine & Spirits Extravaganza you will have the opportunity to shine with your own station to put forth a dish with your mentor’s guidance and advice.

Truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn and commune with some of the best chefs in the country and get global recognition via Chef’s Roll’s 1.5 million social media following. In addition you will get kitted out with the latest Chef’s Roll apparel and gear, a beautiful blade from Messermeister and get featured on our website and social media channels. This year’s Center Stage is dedicated to Chef Fatima Ali, who won our inaugural competition in 2016, before succumbing to her battle with cancer in 2019 – may her memory live on.



Whether you are a gifted culinary student, advancing line cook that dreams of Michelin stars, seasoned chef de cuisine or even a chef owner that is looking to build an empire…we want you to apply. The access and body of knowledge that our participating mentors and the Restaurant Reset Conference participants has is unlimited.

ROUND 1: Feb 8-28

Step 1: Fill out the registration form below so we can learn more about you.

Step 2: Create a dish inspired by a female figure. The inspiration could come from something your grandmother used to make you or from a female Chef that you admire. Post a photo of the dish to Instagram or email it to with the description and the inspiration behind it. If posting to Instagram be sure to tag @chefsroll and use #CRcenterstage2022


Congratulations to the 29 selected out of 377 applicants to advance to Round 2. You should have received an email with next steps. If you are listed below, but did not (check spam folder) receive an email, please contact for round 2 instructions.

Catalina Carrion-Kozak
Sarah Betcher
Toni Elkhouri
Lindsay Sipress
Melissa Phair
Karla Dietz
Kathleen Pierucci
Sarah Gunderson
Samantha Gutierrez
Mimi Nguyen
Stephanie Westby
Chance Bridges
April Anderson
Jozephene Gutierrez
Zen Otto
Sharde Dantzler
Brianna Welk
Emily Hopkins
Priscilla Moynihan
Makena Heffernan
Kristin Rivera
Tanya Jimenez
Samantha Etienne
Kiara Humes
Omayra Dakis
Brittiney Moore
Soojin Lim
Stephanie Gonzalez
Tierra Spencer

ROUND 2: March 2-14

We will pick a selection of candidates to advance to Round 2 where you will be asked to create another dish for submission. This dish should have an emphasis on sustainability, while being appealing to diners. This is an exercise for you to think about absolutely every aspect of what you’re putting on the plate and the impacts it can have. Besides the photo and dish description, you should include your thought process behind each component, which can include sources and any backstory behind your choices. Note that further guidance will be sent to the candidates chosen.


Congratulations to the 6 finalists selected to advance to Round 3:
Sarah Betcher
Kristin Rivera
Lindsay Sipress
Tanya Jimenez
Samantha Etienne
Soojin Lim

ROUND 3: March 17-22

6 finalists will be chosen to participate in Zoom interviews with the team from Brad Metzger Restaurant Solutions, a leading hospitality recruitment and placement firm for culinary professionals. Based on the interviews, our class of 2022 will be chosen for the all expense paid trip to the MAPP Restaurant Reset Conference and prize packages.


Congratulations to our Center Stage Class of 2022!

Chef Samantha Etienne
Chef Soojin Lim
Chef Sarah Betcher
Chef Tanya Jimenez


About the MAPP Restaurant Reset Conference

MAPP’s Restaurant Reset Conference is a fun and inspiring food, wine & spirits extravaganza on Ft. Lauderdale Beach, for women and professionals in culinary and hospitality to build and nurture relationships while learning how to continue to advance in their careers. Whether you are part of a restaurant group or single location, head chef or emerging talent, you will be part of the urgent discussion on how to rebuild the industry to create a more sustainable, equitable & prosperous business model. MAPP’s RESTAURANT RESET CONFERENCE is the ONLY conference for and about women chefs and restaurateurs. This jam packed conference will be a stepping stone where powerful alliances are forged, new ideas generated for you and your business to thrive, and all over great food and drinks at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach. Chef’s Roll is the official Media Partner of the conference – use code CHEFSROLL for $35 off tickets.

About the Chef Mentors

Mary Sue Milliken

Mary Sue Milliken is a James Beard and Julia Child Award-winning chef best known for her modern Mexican Border Grill restaurants, trucks and catering in Los Angeles and Las Vegas; BBQ Mexicana and Pacha Mamas, fast casual eateries in Las Vegas; and Socalo, an all-day California canteen and Mexican pub in Santa Monica all created with her business partner Susan Feniger. Mary Sue has co-authored five cookbooks, co-starred in Food Network’s Too Hot Tamales and successfully competed on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. Milliken is passionate about food policy and works with various nonprofits around the world to bring her expertise to help shape sustainable food systems. Mary Sue also serves on the Board of Trustees for the James Beard Foundation; is a co-founder of Regarding Her Food, a non-profit to provide women owned restaurants in LA county business grants, mentorship and resources in response to Covid’s crippling effect on the industry; and is a member of the U. S. State Department’s American Chef Corps.

Tanya Holland

Acclaimed for her inventive take on modern soul food, as well as comfort classics, Tanya Holland is the Executive Chef/Owner of the internationally renowned and beloved Brown Sugar Kitchen restaurant, located in Oakland, CA. The author of The Brown Sugar Kitchen Cookbook and New Soul Cooking, Holland competed on the 15th season of Top Chef on Bravo, appears on the new HBO Max show Selena + Chef featuring Selena Gomez and is the host of OWN’s Tanya’s Kitchen Table. In 2020, Holland launched “Tanya’s Table” podcast with MuddHouse Media. She is on the Board of Trustees for the James Beard Foundation, and Brown Sugar Kitchen has received multiple Michelin Bib Gourmand awards. Additionally, she has teamed up with Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) to create a new café concept for the Museum: Town Fare by Tanya Holland in 2021. She is an in-demand public speaker and lecturer who frequently leads the conversation on inclusion and equity in the hospitality industry.

Emma Bengtsson

Emma Bengtsson grew up in the small Swedish fishing village of Falkenberg and originally wanted to be a fighter pilot. In her youth, Emma would go to shooting ranges with her father in preparation for a military career, however, her grandmother was an avid home cook and inspired her to go on to study at the International Restaurant School in Stockholm at the age of 16. Emma went on to stage as a pastry chef at Edsbacka Krog — the only Swedish restaurant to hold two Michelin stars at the time. Here, she discovered she enjoyed working as a pastry chef and after graduating, she continued to work at the restaurant for four years. She then went on to work at Operakällaren within the Royal Swedish Opera as a pastry chef for five years.

After vacationing in Mexico and a quick stop in Manhattan, Emma knew she wanted to move to New York City. In 2010, at 29-years-old, she got her chance when then Aquavit Executive Chef Marcus Jernmark recruited her to join the team as pastry chef. Her interpretation of classic Scandinavian desserts quickly garnered critical acclaim with Aquavit winning a Michelin star. Emma caught the attention of owner Hakan Swahn, who offered her the Executive Chef position in 2014 when Jernmark resigned. Although Emma was initially hesitant and refused, she took her delicate approach to pastry and adapted it to savory dishes which led to the restaurant being awarded two Michelin stars the same year. This award made her the first Swedish woman to hold two Michelin stars and only the second in the United States after Dominique Crenn.

In 2016, under Emma’s culinary direction, Aquavit opened a second restaurant in London. At Aquavit, Emma is serving the kind of food she likes to eat. The fare is true to Scandinavia offering light and bright dishes with a focus on fresh ingredients, seafood and traditional methods like pickling and preserving.

Now, Emma has revamped the menu at Aquavit, adding a fresh new take and expanded bar menu. The menu now allows diners to enjoy a full meal at the bar offering an extensive selection of snacks, starters, mains and desserts. In the main dining room, guests can now enjoy her three, five and eight-course tasting menus.