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Sexism in the Kitchen


tony h
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that sounds extreme, I'm sure some editing has gone on. I really never witnessed sexism. To be honest if you could do the job everyone was thankful, staffing is a huge problem.

She should have been ready for some grief - think about it - your walking into a serious kitchen with a camera crew and limited experience. Sure there going to take the piss !!! That's life. And it's not just limited to kitchens, what would happen if you tried that on a Trading floor ?

One thing I know - Eric is professional, and deserves more respect than to get slated in a national newspaper by someone so naive.

David

Edited by d.hawksworth (log)
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Well to me it sounds as if yet another member of 'oliver's fifteen' could use a damned good slapping. mind you, how many couldn't????

All I read in this self serving, self pitying little diatribe is someone who is not accepted, and presumes this is somehow gender related. maybe it is, maybe it isn't, perhaps that she has come a 'reality TV' program might have something to do with not being accepted as a proper chef.

Everything else sounds like work as a commis, boo f**king hoo.

today my sympathy aura seems somewhat cloudy :wink:

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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Gosh we're a sensitive bunch. Most of the complaints seem against the struggles of a hard-core kitchen, and not accusations of sexism (other than your food being prepared by "a spotty adolescent... fantasising about Jordan's tits" - which is clearly misanthropic against said spotty adolescent).

And the only damaging accusation against Chavot: "this is a man so pasionate and hungry for fine food that he once shot off two of his own toes while out game hunting." Presumably this was after the rabbit had run, quivering, under the Chavot's boot, and blinded by delerium and his own saliva, he took a shot.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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I'm willing to believe that there's sexism in kitchens- in the UK or anywhere else- but it's not clear from this article. Lots of bullying/hazing (which, in the absence of a control group, might or might not be evidence of sexism) and some second-hand comments. There were plenty of reasons for the author's treatment (being a newbie, bringing along a camera crew), and one comment that verged on explicit sexism.

Or does a kitchen's boys-club atmosphere add up to de facto sexism?

I do love this quote:

This is a man so passionate and hungry for fine food that he once shot off two of his own toes while out game hunting.

Seems like a bad move; there's not much meat on toes. Hard to make them into "fine food."

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Would any newcomer be treated like then? Or was it just because she was one of Jamie's Fifteen, and that aroused resentment (someof it justified I suspect)

What do people think of this:

according to the Equal Opportunities Commission, the hospitality industry routinely receives more complaints of bullying and sexual harassment than any other employment sector.
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I'm curious. Why is so hard for blokes to believe that sexism exists or take is seriously - is it because they are not usually the object of unwanted attention?

is louisa chu also a bloke?

seriously,

this article has more to do with a pretentious princess rather than any gender related hazying.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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I'm curious.  Why is so hard for blokes to believe that sexism exists or take is seriously - is it because they are not usually the object of unwanted attention?

I believe entirely that sexism exists (simultaneously finding it extremely difficult to believe that it still can do). And it goes both ways. I'm just not sure that what she (or the editor in shaping her piece) is alluding to, the majority of the time, is about sex. Rather, it's about control (or lack of), experience (or lack of), and respect (or lack of).

Her womanhood is not in doubt; her victimhood his. I think it is actually more degrading to the political issue to have placed her difficulties under the umbrella of sexism (and I don't say it was necessarily her), rather than the standard powerlessness and humiliations that stagieres and commis have to deal with. Bourdain wrote about male line-cooks getting their genitals groped by other men, with sexual references included - but this is about power, not sexism.

I think I would be more offended by her accusation that all women who thrived in that environment were "butch, tattooed, lesbians;" were I a successful female chef.

[edit: to syntax my correct.]

Edited by MobyP (log)

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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I don't know why she didn't simply regard herself as the lowest in the pecking order. She was the newest on the line, obviously not planning on staying, and there only to gather grist for her food mill! And after reading her article, I don't blame the staff for keeping their mouths shut.

Sounded to me as if this woman has self-esteem issues that unfortunately surfaced in her less-than-professional article.

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welcome to the wonderful world of cooking. Your kitchen experience sounds more like that of a newbie being tossed in with the regular crew. Regular crews are always wary of new people. There usually is a fair amount of ego floating around as well. If after working hard, not complaining, being on time and not being too much of a girlie-girl,you still didn't elicite any sort of small talk from your co-workers..... f--k them! Life's a bitch in the kitchen, and you have to have a tough skin. That said, if you like cooking, stay with it, you'll find the right place and crew eventually and hten its a blast.

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maybe the chefs at the capital were busy doing their jobs and making sure she didn"t fuck up ,or maybe they didn"t have time to all seat around a table to have a nice cup of tea ,a few biscuits, and speak about paranoia and all the problems that comes with it :biggrin:

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The way I read it, much of the sexist behavior in that article was done by the author. In her writing she paints broad and nasty gender related pictures of at least three subgroups.

She provides absolutely no proof in this article that the abuse given to her in the kitchen, while ugly and disrespectful, had anything to do with her gender.

There very well may be sexism in professional kitchens like that one, but she has not even on a basic level described it here. It reads like a high school theme to me with lots of baseless opinion and no support. She could have done this well, defined what sexism in the kitchen is and why she felt it existed in this situation, interviewed others who had shared experiences, compared different types of kitchens etc... In my mind this article was a wasted opportunity to do some real investigative journalism. She should stick to slicing ham.

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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Cusina,

well said. I agree, perhaps there is something worth exploring in this issue, just not from said article.

I think the main reason for this young girl not taking the chance to delve or provide substantive backup is not just limited to her lack of ability in this regard, but perhaps her motivation in the first instance.

I don't think she has wanted to do anything more than strike out in a churlish callow fashion at those she feels have slighted her. She is smart enough to know that accusations of sexism can create a cloud of sub editor sensationalism, through which she can escape out the back door. Little more than telling tales, trying to get someone in trouble at school - or at least this is the level of sophistication I attribute to her motives.

I am starting to look through my newly acquired loathing of this girl, and see perhaps a slow news day and an unscruplious editor egging her on perhaps? After all as someone said earlier, if she doesn't know better, the guardian should.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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I noticed that this article was reproduced in the FeMail section of today's Daily Mail (not mine I hasten to add). She is photographed and takes up half the page. It occurrred to me that if she had been treated 'normally' (my guess is that this is normal treatment for any newbie chef with a camera crew in tow) there would be no story.

Stinks to me of somebody trying to make a name for themself. :angry:

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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i'm gobsmacked by that article.

i think she's read "kitchen confidential", got a bee in bonnet because they didn't roll out the red carpet and is looking for some revenge.

but most of all i can't believe the hubris of her comments about food in good restaurants being cooked by barely literate adolescents (my paraphrasing)...i'm not sure i saw any of jamie's trainees discussing proust over the lobsters in any of the episodes i watched.

in fact, they struck me more as barely literate adolescents....

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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this article has more to do with a pretentious princess rather than any gender related hazying.

I'm not denying that - but kind of hoped it open up into a bigger discussion

I'm game for a bigger discussion.

I can't say what goes on in the kitchens. But I have always found it unusual that most high end restaurants don't have any female servers. You can't tell me that women aren't capable of being servers in high end restaurants. One of the biggest deal restaurants where I live (Florida) had to be hauled into court to get it to hire female servers.

I can only assume that there is even more sexism in the kitchens. Robyn

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this article has more to do with a pretentious princess rather than any gender related hazying.

I'm not denying that - but kind of hoped it open up into a bigger discussion

I'm game for a bigger discussion.

I can't say what goes on in the kitchens. But I have always found it unusual that most high end restaurants don't have any female servers. You can't tell me that women aren't capable of being servers in high end restaurants. One of the biggest deal restaurants where I live (Florida) had to be hauled into court to get it to hire female servers.

I can only assume that there is even more sexism in the kitchens. Robyn

Of course there's sexism in kitchens. Restaurants are small businesses run by owners and chefs who consider themselves mavericks, not accountable to anyone.

If a woman complains about sexism, what does she hear? Just as in this thread, that she deserves what she got for being uppity, that she's imagining the hazing, assaults, and verbal abuse are sexual in nature.

You can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Hehe...slut.

I think Bourdain's attitude in Kitchen Confidential is still prevalent in many kitchens: If a woman doesn't successfully defend herself in the kitchen, she doesn't deserve to be there, so there's no need to treat her with respect.

Kitchen are...different than any other place of work, right? This stuff would never fly in an office, but it's necessary in a kitchen, to toughen up the girls. They'd better get used to it, cause it's not going to stop.

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If a woman doesn't successfully defend herself in the kitchen, she doesn't deserve to be there, so there's no need to treat her with respect.

I hate to say it, but perhaps part of that attitude is based on the fact that women in general aren't really that good at kitchen work. Kitchens are extremely high pressure and labor intensive environments, and oftentimes women just can't do it.

I mean, can you blame cooks for having an attitude about women co-workers when they're constantly getting girls who come in to work for like a week before they quit, and then spend the whole time there asking people to help them lift heavy things or breaking down into tears when they get criticized?

I'm not saying all women are like that, but it seems like the vast majority of women I encounter in kitchens are just plain not as tough as men. Personally, I hate it when I see a woman join the team and generally assume straight off that she's not going to last. She has to work extra hard to prove herself. It may be sexism, but it's sexism based on actual experience.

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If a woman doesn't successfully defend herself in the kitchen, she doesn't deserve to be there, so there's no need to treat her with respect.

I hate to say it, but perhaps part of that attitude is based on the fact that women in general aren't really that good at kitchen work. Kitchens are extremely high pressure and labor intensive environments, and oftentimes women just can't do it.

I mean, can you blame cooks for having an attitude about women co-workers when they're constantly getting girls who come in to work for like a week before they quit, and then spend the whole time there asking people to help them lift heavy things or breaking down into tears when they get criticized?

I'm not saying all women are like that, but it seems like the vast majority of women I encounter in kitchens are just plain not as tough as men. Personally, I hate it when I see a woman join the team and generally assume straight off that she's not going to last. She has to work extra hard to prove herself. It may be sexism, but it's sexism based on actual experience.

It's just that women are so damned inferior. Get'em out of the kitchen fast!

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