Iron Chef Amanda Cohen Roots for Vegetables and Fair Wages

She’s an Iron Chef — and a pioneer of the No Tipping Movement in New York City. Now Amanda Cohen is hoping a bold food choice can transform the food industry. Special thanks to Dirt Candy.

Who is Amanda Cohen?

Amanda Cohen is a classically trained chef who attended Natural Gourmet Cookery School. After working for various restaurants including Culinary Hall of Fame Inductee Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill She is best known for her appearance on Iron Chef America season 8 in 2010 when she challenged Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto in a vegetarian battle, only losing by 9 points. Despite her loss, she was recognized as an Iron Chef on Iron Chef Canada. As a board member and treasurer of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, Cohen recognizes the struggle of women working in any aspect of the restaurant industry especially servers.

“All this research I did pointed me in this direction: tipping is bad. It’s morally bad. It’s sexist. It’s misogynistic, it’s racist. It basically — I’m outsourcing part of my payroll, my human resources department to my customers. The States and Canada are really the only two countries where people are dependent on their tips to live in. Seems like the rest of the world has moved on so why haven't we? We're not the most sustainable industry for women. Everybody has to start paying their employees more so they have access to better insurance, better health insurance they have to figure out and restaurant industry how to be able to provide maternity leave and paternity leave and real sick days and hold jobs for people who have to go home and care for a loved one. The only way I knew how to do that was to go no tipping,” Amanda Cohen shares with Brut.

What’s on the menu?

As one of the first all-vegetable restaurants, Dirt Candy has been in business since 2008. With two tasting menus, the five-course meal for $65 and the ten-course meal for $99, customers get a variety of tastes and all of the employees get a raised wage.