Ruralcurls, that's pretty incredible. New York is so competitive and honestly, it's the most sexist I'd say of the major cities when it comes to restaurants. Even Paris seems to have more notable female chefs. To be fair, Asian countries have some pretty sexist views about women in the kitchen. But when you look at California, it's glaring how many women are recognized in comparison to New York.

I'm often left thinking that either I leave NY, or I quit this business and stay in NY, perhaps trying to still work in something food-related.

TRBL, in terms of Christmas spices: ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg?
I actually think in something like that star anise would be in there.