Long before it was dubbed Pantone's hue of the year, purple played a far more important role in history—it was the color of the women's suffrage movement.
The significance of violet inspired pastry chef Angela Garbacz to launch Empower Through Flour, a campaign that's bringing together an all-star lineup of female chefs to raise money for a nonprofit organization called I AM THAT GIRL.
As the owner of Goldenrod Pastries, an all-women-run bakery in Lincoln, NE, Garbacz has always wanted to bring together chefs from across the country. With conversations about equality in the restaurant industry (and beyond) in the spotlight, she thought Women's History Month would be the perfect time to reach out to the community she has gotten to know both online and in person.
"We’re here based in the middle of the U.S., and one thing that's really important to me is bridging the gap between this part of the country and everywhere else," she says. "There are so many amazing female chefs who are doing cool things now and I really wanted to find a way to work with them and also find a way to support and help young women."
And so Empower Through Flour was born. Garbacz recruited 17 female chefs to create special items in honor of Women's History Month. While each is different—ranging from macarons to pasta to an ever-trendy toast—they're linked by their use of purple.
Some are boldly purple, like the W-shaped cookies by Annie Miler of Los Angeles' Clementine, while others are more subtle, such as chef Amanda Turner's hand-cut beet tagliatelle with red cabbage, chèvre, and everything spice, available at Juniper in Austin.
"It’s really cool to see how chefs interpret what purple means. For Goldenrod, that means sprinkles and edible flowers," says Garbacz, referring to her heart-shaped lavender-lemon shortbread cookies. "For others, it means using beets and purple barley and ingredients that are naturally purple. I think that each interpretation is really beautiful."
It was another experience at Goldenrod that inspired Garbacz to donate proceeds from these limited-edition items to I AM THAT GIRL. The nationwide organization has more than 300 chapters in communities across the country, providing high school- and college-aged women with a safe space to open up about their insecurities and support one another.
"I thought of them specifically after a mom came into the bakery a couple of months ago and said her 16-year-old daughter told her how awesome it was to come into Goldenrod and see so many women working together," says Garbacz. "For a lot of people, their inspiration is someone at the top of the field, but the people I work with one-on-one, who day-in and day-out bring themselves into the kitchen and work so hard...they really inspire me to keep trying to make this industry a kinder, more progressive one."
"Just taking the step to listen to a young woman and hear what she’s passionate about is enough."