SIMMER: A Documentary Series

New York City, New York | Series


Marina Starkey

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $9,060 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

90 supporters | followers

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In conversation with the 90% of women who experience sexual harassment in the food & hospitality industry. Through these conversations, we tackle the pervasive gender disparity evident within this industry, its profound effect on women, and what we're doing about it.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

SIMMER is a chorus of voices with unfortunately similar stories, but diverse in their perspectives. Our subjects are only women, many of them WOC and/or queer. Our crew is also composed of intersectional women and male feminist allies.

The Story

MARINA STARKEY is a first-time filmmaker, long time chef. Tired of the sexual harassment she consistently experienced in restaurants, she pivoted her career to private & personal chef-ing while growing her catering company. She earned her masters degree in gastronomy from Boston University, where she realized just how intertwined gender and food are within our cultural framework. Once the #MeToo movement struck the restaurant industry, and knowing from personal experience how deeply pervasive sexual harassment is, Marina knew she wanted to get even further into these stories, highlighting women through a new art form she hasn’t yet explored.


JULIA DICKERSON is a soon-to-be graduate student studying animal science. She spent years in the restaurant industry as a server where she experienced sexual harassment and directly encountered just how challenging it was to hold these abusers accountable. Julia is particularly empowered by women helping each other and coming together in the pursuit of progress & equality. She’s so thrilled to be working on SIMMER as an executive producer where she can help create a space that achieves exactly that.


The sensational headlines of the #MeToo movement are just the tip of the iceberg in the restaurant industry. In our research we found that 90% of women in this industry experience sexual harassment. This is nearly everyone. There are hundreds, thousands more stories out there that our news outlets simply don’t have the resources to cover. Why are restaurants such fertile ground for harassment? We know these experiences aren’t unique to the industry, but the rate at which they occur is. This makes the restaurant world a wide angle into the topic writ large: a familiar tale many people can relate to, not just women. We want to produce SIMMER because we want to give these often unheard voices a platform -- the voices of those that are often within our most vulnerable populations. We want to create a space where we are free to express our anger or disappointment or frustration. We want a space that will listen and bring these voices forward, voices that will work together to find solutions within these universally-experienced issues.   


The #MeToo movement is a profound cultural moment that is finally bringing these all-too-common stories of sexual harassment to light. Not only is media covering these issues and giving women platforms to express their long-held, harrowing perspectives, real change is happening because of it. People are listening. People are rethinking how they dine out, and men are being held accountable for their actions, to some degree. Rich and powerful men (and women) have stepped down from the posts that made their careers. The entire restaurant industry is rethinking their approach to what has been a deeply-rooted establishment of gendered power dynamics that diminishes women, and especially women of color. SIMMER aims to take advantage of this time in history when people want to listen, engage, and help foster change.


With minimal options for the majority of women in the food industry to hold their abusers accountable, we’re hoping to be an outlet for many of them. There are only so many stories the media can report on, and it’s time for us to start listening. By listening and holding space for women, we hope to bring to light how common these stories are, and ultimately hope to push the conversation forward towards progress. The conversation doesn’t end with the release of SIMMER: it begins. By engaging these issues that are challenging to confront directly, we can begin to find a way forward that benefits everyone in this industry and beyond.


We are so excited to be featuring some of the most talented women in the industry who want to help SIMMER’s cause by lending their voices. We’re proud to be featuring TV Personality & Chef SARA MOULTON, NYT food writer and cookbook author ALISON ROMAN, Eater NY Editor SERENA DAI, Michelin-starred chef ELISE KORNACK, The Henry’s Executive Chef SAM DAVIS, Co-Founder of Culinary Commons & Pastry Chef TAYLOR BARRY, Managing Partner of The Fat Radish and Silkstone Hospitality, NATALIE FREIHON, and activist TRISH NELSON.

We’re also featuring women who are representative of our most vulnerable populations within the industry, such as line cooks, bartenders, and dishwashers, many of whom are immigrants, including ROSE PENA, PAOLA SUAREZ, and WASSASHA GARCIA.


Equipment! $4,000

Locations! $1,500

To pay our supremely talented crew! $3,000

And of course, food! $1,500


Every single dollar truly counts. We appreciate you so much, endlessly, forever, and ever, and ever. THANK YOU for your financial contributions and your emotional ones. We love you.


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The Crew

Costs $3,000

Our crew is full of wonderfully talented people who need to be paid!

Craft Services

Costs $1,500

We cannot make a documentary about the food industry without feeding everyone, right?


Costs $4,000

I'm learning these things are pricey.


Costs $1,500

A safe space is often a physical space, and we need one.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

We know the film industry has a diversity issue as much as the food industry does. That's why we're employing SO MANY WOMEN to lead, produce, and direct this series. Yeah, there are a couple men too, but only for affirmative action reasons, ya know? 


We are so proud that our crew is composed of a majority of women, many of whom are women of color and a part of the LGBTQ community. SIMMER cannot accomplish its goals of lifting up diverse voices in the food industry without first ensuring they are being shot/interviewed by those who understand their story the most. 

Current Team