Celebrating Women in the Industry on International Women's Day

March 8th is International Women's Day, a time dedicated to study, observe, and celebrate how far women have come in their struggle for equality, peace, and development. And we feel like it’s the perfect time to also highlight some amazing women that make up the local hospitality industry.
Duck Dive has served Pacific Beach elevated bar fare in a casual, beachy atmosphere for over a decade. A favorite among locals, college kids, tourists, and everyone in between, their ability to bring guests a memorable, delicious experience just steps from the beach has kept them beloved to all. Rebekah Winn, who co-owns Duck Dive alongside her husband Tom, plays a crucial role in the success of the Duck Dive. Rebekah works closely with the kitchen and bar team for menu development, meets with product vendors, and is the genius behind the fun events the Duck Dive hosts, including Drag Brunch, trivia nights, and more. A woman of many hats, Rebekah’s fifteen years in the hospitality industry led her to start WanderBars. The company travels with their rescued 1969 double horse trailer and a big dream. Now, WanderBars provides a wide range of services including event design, florals, lounge rentals, backdrops, table-scape and full-service planning. This has allowed her the opportunity to coordinate and provide floristry for the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
Chula Vista’s Sistry Foods was founded in August 2022 by sisters Daphne Khairo, Diane Zoura, and Darlene Zoura – all daughters of Iraqi immigrants Hikmat and Hiam. The health-conscious troika created a line of three versatile sauces (Jalapeno Cilantro, Ranch, and Chipotle Chili Sauce) that are vegan, gluten-free, soy free, Paleo-friendly, dairy free, and Whole30. They can be found at the Little Italy Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, as well as Sprouts location in the South Bay, Harvest Ranch Market in Encinitas, and Farm Stand 67 in Ramona. Daphne, Diane, and Darlene created the sauces because of several allergies, lactose intolerance, and vegan lifestyles within the family. The three sisters pride themselves on Sistry Foods’ clean and transparent products, hoping to provide sauces that are both delicious and conscientious of allergies and other health sensitivities.  
Locals and visitors alike know the downtown, high-energy restaurant and bar that is barleymash, but we’re here to introduce you to some of the hotspot’s leading ladies! If you missed her on Cooking Channel’s Food Paradise last season, Chef Rose Lane helms the kitchen at the always-bustling downtown spot, coming up with oh-so-delicious dishes for holidays and special events. Tiana Selvin is barleymash’s General Manager who works hard to help keep the team on track for local happenings and events in the city, which is only a portion of what she does. And barleymash events would be nothing without Whitney McMillen, the Events Manager. Whether it be a large, restaurant-wide buyout or an intimate dinner paired with wine or alcohol, Whitney is truly the best in the business.
Manuela Ianuale is a partner at recently opened Al Dente, an Italian restaurant found in the University Heights neighborhood. Al Dente is owned and operated by a small team of Sicilian and Neapolitan friends, who are industry veterans that felt driven to use their combined talents to create a fresh new dining concept. The restaurant offers unique twists on classic and authentic Italian dishes and is designed for hosting large gatherings or more intimate diners. Manuela works directly with the chefs at Al Dente to ensure menus are up to date, as well as works through logistics for specialty menus and promotions.
Spill the Beans is redefining how adults should begin their day, offering fresh coffee and tasty bagels to those who live, work, or just happen to pass through the Gaslamp or Seaport Village. And when you stop in for a one-of-a-kind bagel, you have Pastry Chef Karina Orozco to thank! Back in 2017, before Spill the Beans opened their first location, Chef Karina was tasked with helping to craft the perfect bagel. She’d never made a bagel in her life, not even in culinary school, and spent seven months researching before coming up with the perfect combination of ingredients. Chef Karina is still heavily involved with the success of Spill the Beans, which includes handling their monthly “Bagel of the Month” specialty bagels and cream cheese flavors.
Sandra DiCiccio is an accomplished businesswoman, renowned American entrepreneur, and restaurateur. She is the founder and CEO of Grand Restaurant Group, composed of several upscale restaurants in San Diego County (Bellamy’s, Nick & G’s, Giaola Italian Kitchen, Alejandra’s Fine Mexican Food & Cantina). In addition to her work in the industry as a restaurateur, Sandra DiCicco is also known for her passion for healthy foods. She strongly advocates for eco-friendly practices such as local sourcing produce and minimizing food waste in her kitchens. The ingredients used in her restaurants all come from the family ranch. Partnering with culinary artist Romanna Clark, she has started a Hungry Squirrel company producing a gourmet keto-friendly line of sauces and dressings that fit just about any diet. Moreover, she owns a coffee plantation producing Lava Lei Coffee which prides itself on being completely organic and an authentic representation of Hawaiian coffee. Those products are served at all her restaurants and distributed nationally. 
Mavericks Beach Club, in PB, is the best venue to experience some of the city’s coolest events, from a pop-up mini golf course to pro-wrestling tournaments, workout classes and roaming entertainers, and everything in between! And the women behind the events put in a ton of work to ensure they’re jam packed full of fun for all. Krista Marcheschi, Mavericks’ Events and Marketing Manager, and Stephanie Knoble, Events and Marketing Assistant, are responsible for creating one-of-a-kind events, meant to bring all ages of guests to the beach bar, on Garnet.
Former attorney Virginia Morrison co-founded Carmel Mountain’s Second Chance Beer Company in 2015 with her husband Marty, and she has worked tirelessly as CEO to create award-winning beer, raise money for dog rescue organizations, and promote and practice having an inclusive community. The brewery’s most recent release Fistful of Gummies Berry Edition is a take on its fruited sour core beer that celebrates Women’s History Month. A portion of proceeds from its sales will be donated to Pink Boots Society, which encourages women and non-binary individuals to advance their careers in the fermented/alcoholic beverage industry. Another recent release was the All I Want Kolsch style beer, which was created in collaboration with the All My Friends Are Rappers brand in honor of Black History Month. The brand was founded by Kemet Ackee, a nine-year Army veteran and a member of Second Chance’s brewing, brand ambassador, and beertender teams. Virginia and Marty have donated more than $257,000 to local dog rescues since Second Chance’s inception.
San Diego native Aly Lyng is the Pastry Chef at George's at the Cove, the nationally renowned La Jolla restaurant featuring stunning views of the coastline and Pacific Ocean. Lyng, who was born and raised in La Mesa, has three culinary degrees in hand from Grossmont College and has held a passion for baking sweet treats since she was a young girl. In the past 11 years, she has worked her way up from pastry plater to pastry sous chef to now Pastry Chef. During the pandemic years, she created Aly’s Pies to stay afloat financially, making 200 pies from scratch every week and delivering them to customers throughout San Diego County. Georges Partner/Chef Trey Foshee took notice of her successful endeavor and decided to introduce a biweekly rotation of her pies at Georges sister restaurant Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill & Oysters.

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