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Why So Few Women Are Great Chefs ...


Gifted Gourmet
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The other exogeneous factor(s) would have to do with the ideas of a chef being considered  a trade more than a profession in past years, and the lack of schools that would offer a woman the 'credentials' she might be made to feel she needed before she even walked in the door of a kitchen (whereas a man might have not been asked for equal credentials).

Your next question....do women have less of this fire in the belly than men do?

Sigh.

Again, let me come back later for this one. This is a really tough one, isn't it.

Not to skip over the rest of your thoughtful post, but there are two particularly interesting points here. The trade/profession dichotomy thing is interesting. Clearly, in the U.S., opportunities for professional advancement have expanded exponentially for women since, oh, 1960. One can almost picture a generation of women realizing that, unlike their foremothers, they had vast (how that plays out relative to men is another discussion, so let's not walk down that blind alley now) opportunities to enter the workforce and either get rich or change the world or just earn considerably more than pin money for a nice vacation. How nmy of these women were thinking, "dammit, I'm going to be a doctor, or an attorney, or (my field) a communitcations professional." And how many were thinking, "dammit, I'm going to spend 70 hours a week in a hot, kitchen scarring myself, listening to rude comments all day and making crap money?" Maybe it just didn't occur to the women most able and likely to take advantage of the changing social and economic landscape to put themselves back in the kitchen when the corner office was finally in reach.

And, lest we think that chefly brilliance is always the result of a "calling," remember that the only calling Thomes Keller got was when his mother called him to get his ass over to the restaurant she was manageing, because her cook had quit.

The second point is: how does one resolve the opposition between the quest for balance you and sinclair mention with the fire in the belly which, pretty much by definition, means a life out of balance? If women, generally, place higher priority on balance, does this mean that, generally, their rise -- as a group -- to the top of any profession, but particularly coooking, will be hindered?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Maybe it just didn't occur to the women most able and likely to take advantage of the changing social and economic landscape to put themselves back in the kitchen when the corner office was finally in reach.

And, lest we think that chefly brilliance is always the result of a "calling," remember that the only calling Thomes Keller got was when his mother called him to get his ass over to the restaurant she was manageing, because her cook had quit.   

:laugh:Very funny, that story about Keller....

And no, I don't think it occured to most women (in those days) that you could take advantage of the changing landscape by putting themselves in the kitchen rather than aiming for the corner office.

Personally I landed there because it was a job, and I needed one.

And to further complicate matters, my formal education only extended to the ninth grade.

Still 'only' does, as a matter of fact.

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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The second point is: how does one resolve the opposition between the quest for balance you and sinclair mention with the fire in the belly which, pretty much by definition, means a life out of balance? If women, generally, place higher priority on balance, does this mean that, generally, their rise -- as a group -- to the top of any profession, but particularly coooking, will be hindered?

Well...there are only twenty-four hours in a day, aren't there.

It seems rather disheartening, though...to talk of women or of men in terms of 'as a group'.

It sort of places both an onus and a thought pattern upon the individuals in that group that is psychologically limiting.

I would rather think of people as individuals...and forget about counting the numbers but rather look at the faces that rise either in happiness or pain.

For an individual's contentment will not reside with what the group does...it will reside with what the individual does.

If I say individual one more time, I will have to tape my mouth shut or take a nap.

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The second point is: how does one resolve the opposition between the quest for balance you and sinclair mention with the fire in the belly which, pretty much by definition, means a life out of balance? If women, generally, place higher priority on balance, does this mean that, generally, their rise -- as a group -- to the top of any profession, but particularly coooking, will be hindered?

It is not really that few women have the "fire in the belly" necessary to succeed. That's like saying that the reason women aren't top chefs is because they really don't want it, so they only have themselves to blame.

The real problem is sociological forces beyond anyone's control. To women fall the job of holding the family together. If a man decides to focus on his career and follow his blind ambition, he can often count on a woman holding the homestead together in his absence. A husband will not do that for his wife. And if a man should end up divorced because his wife got tired of being understanding, people understand his side. A woman who did the same thing would never be accepted. That would be considered abandonment by society.

All of this is seen as potential character flaws in a woman, giving many employers an excuse not to hire a woman for a job she is well qualified to do.

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emilymarie...you don't sound naive to me...you sound very well informed.

It really helps this discussion to have solid examples. Please, do share with us any more parts of your article or notes that you think are pertinent...

And I am very glad that you enjoy the kitchen. Nothing can be more fun, and fulfilling, really, once the varied tests of survival are passed.

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It is not really that few women have the "fire in the belly" necessary to succeed. That's like saying that the reason women aren't top chefs is because they really don't want it, so they only have themselves to blame.

The real problem is sociological forces beyond anyone's control. To women fall the job of holding the family together. If a man decides to focus on his career and follow his blind ambition, he can often count on a woman holding the homestead together in his absence. A husband will not do that for his wife. And if a man should end up divorced because his wife got tired of being understanding, people understand his side. A woman who did the same thing would never be accepted. That would be considered abandonment by society.

All of this is seen as potential character flaws in a woman, giving many employers an excuse not to hire a woman for a job she is well qualified to do.

Katherine, I understand all too well about women holding the family together.

Trust me on this one.

But bottom line, the 'people who understand his side' and not the other side are not only becoming fewer as time goes forward with small gains for fairness...but really, do they matter? If they do in any way, they should not. (And although this is really outside the scope of this thread, I must say my feelings are that his side/her side should not matter...the only thing that should matter is to best protect the children from the messes that adults can make.)

As Eleanor Roosevelt said: "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."

As for sociological forces beyond our control...sociology is the study of people in groups. Each person that does something affects the group, defining the overall pattern in which it operates. Therefore sociology is the study of us, and I do not feel like I am beyond my own control, and hope that nobody else feels this way about themselves either. We define our world. A category of academic study does not.

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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Katherine, I understand all too well about women holding the family together.

Trust me on this one.

But bottom line, the 'people who understand his side' and not the other side are not only becoming fewer as time goes forward with small gains for fairness...but really, do they matter? If they do in any way, they should not.

Perhaps they should not matter, but they do. These are the people who either help or hinder a person when they seek career advancement.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said: "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."

As for sociological forces beyond our control...sociology is the study of people in groups. Each person that does something affects the group, defining the overall pattern in which it operates. Therefore sociology is the study of us, and I do not feel like I am beyond my own control, and hope that nobody else feels this way about themselves either. We define our world. A category of academic study does not.

Unfortunately, we are all members of the society in which we live. None of us functions in a vacuum, independent of social influences. Every woman who decides on a lesser career goal when the obstacles seem insurmountable, or when the choice needs to be made between trying to advance the career and having a family - has made her decision based on the choices that were available to her, not those we might like to have available to her. If almost every woman decides that she's not going to make it to the top, because so few are able, and chooses to have a family life instead, who is to say what might have been if the opportunities had been different, if she had had a spouse willing to babysit and clean house, and a real shot at a top-notch career opportunity?

It's not enough to know that you're not inferior. How many women had equal opportunity when Eleanor Roosevelt said that?

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Not enough did, Katherine. And still not enough do.

I am simply more optimistic about it than you perhaps, or more pigheaded that it should and will be so.

Not only for 'me', or for other women, but for men and for children too. Because when things are as fair as is possible, everyone benefits.

Note I said as fair as possible. I do not dream of a perfect world.

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Karen, this is the restaurant I'm working at.

It's been a little bit different for my boss, since she's the chef/owner and hasn't had the situation of working her way up through the ranks. Instead, she's one of that equally rare breed who jumped in with both feet, and made her own rules. Her first restaurant experience (aside from dining) was running one.

She's an interesting person to work with. Her degree is in mathematics, her experience in computers and industrial engineering; and let me tell you that this kitchen has good "flow." New menu items will occasionally need to be tweaked to fit our physical capabilities, but mostly not.

As for the whole notion of a "fire in the belly," I guess she's got a significant degree of that. Or perhaps just a complete unwillingness to be turned from her course. At any rate, twenty-four years in, she still puts in a work week that would leave me gasping. At two jobs and 55-70 hours/week I'm pushing my limits; she's 15 years older and does more than I. In her spare time she's been re-learning to ride a bicycle, because her dream is to complete a triathlon.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Ann Cooper, who was formerly the head of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, said (and I'm simplifying and condensing here) that the whole brigade system, since its conception, has been wholly male-dominated and embedded with military, male macho-ism. The coats, she notes, are modelled after Turkish army uniforms.

Essentially, the militaristic brigade system is an invention by Escoffier, when Haute Cuisine was more of a Hotel activity. In Londons Ritz, Escoffier had sometimes to serve 500+ guests, so there was a lot of discipline needed.

I'm more and more convinced that the absence of female chefs has a lot to do with the position the French cuisine got in the world and the copying of it's system than with food itself.

In discussions with the other women, one said that being a woman mattered, but that the key was never to admit that it mattered.

A classic implementation of a taboo, I believe. No wonder David Rogov found such nonsense explanations for the absence of female great chefs.

You can't change how other people think just because of what you believe.

Luckily, we can change what other people think if we talk seriously about what we believe. And being a man, I really don't fear "empowered" female great chefs (in fact, I enjoyed their great dishes a lot in my life). Additionally, I prefer a more balanced (and thus more manifold) society any time over a disbalanced one. And to eat a great dish which is not necessarily a question of life or dead for the cook. :smile:

For me, the "fire in the belly" thing has not much to do with spectacular, publicity friendly results. To use an analogy, when visiting a spectacular building, I'm always interested in the service rooms of the building and their functionality. Here you can easily see if the architect has "fire in the belly" or if he's just producing spectacular, visualization friendly stuff that can be nicely presented in a mag to a bored public that has some 30 seconds of attention span to study the result.

I know a male architect (now quite famous here) who creates in a one man show unspectacular, but great simple buildings in rural villages. He doesn't talk a lot and is not much present in popular magazines (his buildings look too simple), but I know from a very good source that he has a lot of "fire in his belly". You have to study his buildings for a while to notice that. Is it spectacular architecture? No. Is it great architcture? I believe so.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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Hello Daniel

I' ve read the "close to 50%" number somewhere some years ago, but I wouldn't be too much surprised if the number was bogus and simply burnt in my memory. So unfortunately, I'm unable to indicate a data source now. But I'm going to try. The fact that you found only 11 female chefs out of roughly 280 chefs of the leading restaurants in Italy, that's a huge surprise for me. Well, at least  Italy has (the only one?) a three star female chef in Canneto.

When I freqented Italian luxury restaurants more often, among the best (all two stars by then), at least three female chefs of that time instantly come to my mind: Signora Alciati of "Da Guido", Signora Cantarelli and the one of the Pinchiorri (can't remember the name). Obviously, there is a change. Let's not forget that in France, we had several three star female chefs at the time of F. Point, notably Mère Brazier running in parallel two restaurants with three stars (like A. Ducasse).

At the moment there are four 3-star restaurants in Italy and in three of them there is a woman as head chef: Nadia Santini (Il Pescatore - Canneto), Annie Feolde (Pinchiorri - Florence) and Luisa Valazza (Il Sorriso - Soriso). There are also several 2-star restaurants with women as head chef (Caino, La Tenda Rossa)

Francesco

Edited for typos

Edited by francesco (log)
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It depends upon how you define "great chefs". Your architect example Boris_A resembles what many many chefs are doing. Creating the best with-in defined terms/catagories. Most of us have a fire in our belly. But people who are recognized as "great chefs" have to go one step further. They have to create something new. Media attention gives out those labels of "great chef" and it certainly focuses greatly on that factor of "new/different".

Being a female in the culinary field I have experienced most of the examples listed by the females chefs previously mentioned. Typically I've been the only female in all male kitchens. Work isn't all celebral, logical, well organized, well functioning. Kitchens aren't always professionally run work places. Often the leader/chef is chosen based on his experience at that company-not if they have the skill set to lead. Work is generally lead by a male and what that dominate males personal perspective is toward women is generally the attititute prevelent in the work atmosphere. He he isn't a strong personality then his subordinates may influence the general attitute.

If the leader is sexist, his followers will be allowed to act that way. If the leader is racist, ditto. If the leader acts like this is a boys club or locker room all his employees follow that lead.

You can't take biological influences away from people either. I do believe men and women are generally 'wired' differently. Females don't really like to hang out in a mens locker room atmosphere that many kitchens are. Eventually women aren't comfortable in the kitchen atmosphere or with the hours or lack of pay, and they move on out of the kitchen getting away from the crap thats allowed to go on in kitchens.

I don't know of any women that are bothered by the history and brigade set up of a kitchen. In fact if it was run properly many women would welcome that over the often poorly run kitchens. I also think many women would like to get more involved with work but traditional interpersonal roles don't support the female.

Granted these factors are changing. Change is inevitable, but it happens slowly. Yes, things are better in kitchens now then they used to be. Men are starting to question the male/female roles and see females thru their more contemporary eyes. More men are staying home to raise the children then ever in history. More women are rising to the top of companies. But again, change happens slowly.

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What interested me the most, however, was what one female chef/owner of a very renowned restaurant in the Bay Area said: If you don't make a big deal out of being a woman, no one around you will. She said that she had to work harder than the other cooks but that she didn't regret it.

Now, this is a very idealistic thing to say. You can't change how other people think just because of what you believe.

Or can you? I think that what Carrot Top and this Bay Area chef are saying is essentially the same--you may have to work harder, stay longer, be more perfect--all the time; you know you're going to have to put up with the comments, leering, lack of support, etc.; but if you can accept this and move ahead with your blinders on, then you can do it. You can move up. If you don't think you're different, no one else will.

In order to put up with all of what comes with being a woman in a kitchen, you need to have a rock-hard spirit, passion, confidence, and determination. Essentially, if you can show whoever may be doubting you that you don't need anymore help than John or Adam and that you believe in yourself, then they'll start to believe that you can do it too--and are as capable as the next guy on the line.

I fear that I sound too idealistic and naive here...And I also fear that what I've said condones or accepts the fact that women will not be treated as equals, that our mistakes will put us two steps back rather than one

No, emilymarie, you don't sound too idealistic and naive. The fact that you already understand what these women who have forged the path before you have experienced, and that it is very likely that you will also have work immensely hard; that it won't be easy; but that if you do work hard, and have talent, you will succeed..........to me this says that you are quite the opposite of naive. You realise everything that is involved in your chosen career path, but you have the determination to succeed. More power to you for it, and the best of luck in achieving your goals!

a.

Well...there are only twenty-four hours in a day, aren't there.

Too true, Karen, too true.

The funny thing is that if you look at the division of household tasks today, and compare it with the division 30 years ago, you'll find that most women are *still* doing the vast majority of the work. Okay, more people have someone come in once a week to do the cleaning, but if my is anything to go by, you need to perform some rudimentary cleaning every day to make it feel and look the way that I like it...plus there's the washing, ironing, cooking.....and we don't even have any kids yet to take care of....! My husband and I have split the work based on the number of hours worked outside the home (he works an 80hr week and I do 50hrs, then I do all the work at home; we work the same hours, we split it fifty-fifty, and if I work more, he does more) but I do think that this is a relatively rare occurence. We just have to keep on encouraging people to see this as normal, and society *will* change.

The real problem is sociological forces beyond anyone's control. To women fall the job of holding the family together. If a man decides to focus on his career and follow his blind ambition, he can often count on a woman holding the homestead together in his absence. A husband will not do that for his wife. And if a man should end up divorced because his wife got tired of being understanding, people understand his side. A woman who did the same thing would never be accepted. That would be considered abandonment by society.

Katherine, I understand what you are saying about the propensity for it to be men who follow their career paths, and that it is left to women to keep the home fires burning, as it were. BUT I think that it is up to each of us as individuals to decide upon our own future. If I want to succeed at work, I damn well will, and screw anyone who gets in my way (sorry for the outburst:blush: ) - this includes my husband. If he were to tell me that his career necessarily came first, and that it was my responsibility to stay home, he knows exactly what he could do with himself (involves something that I think is a little crass for eGullet!) Of course, I am in a better situation than most women, as I have not yet had kids. I understand that this makes the situation more complicated, yet if your partner loves you and understands you as a person, they should care enough to consider your needs and desires and ambitions, and they should do their damndest to make sure you get every chance to achieve them.

Most of us have a fire in our belly. But people who are recognized as "great chefs" have to go one step further. They have to create something new. Media attention gives out those labels of "great chef" and it certainly focuses greatly on that factor of "new/different".

Being a female in the culinary field I have experienced most of the examples listed by the females chefs previously mentioned. Typically I've been the only female in all male kitchens. Work isn't all celebral, logical, well organized, well functioning. Kitchens aren't always professionally run work places.

Granted these factors are changing. Change is inevitable, but it happens slowly.

Wendy,

I agree with you. Most of the female chefs I know are willing to give the men as good as they get. So often the atmosphere is like a frat-boy club, and the women just need to show that they aren't indimidated by those guys. We have our own little restaurant, and my husband is the chef. There are two men and one woman working in that kitchen, and I can assure you that there is plenty of ribbing that goes on in there, but *none* of it is of a sexist, racist, sexual orientationist nature. Because that is not the sort of thing that my darling approves of, and if anyone were to use such language, they would receive a stern warning or two, and then would be politely asked to leave.

The restaurant that I'm at now employs close to 40% women in the kitchen, and there are no issues for them at all. Many of them say that they have experienced difficulties in the past, but they all worked through them. May I say also that one of these chefs is probably *the* most feminine woman I have ever met (her figure, the clothes she wears, the make-up) she's beautiful and proud of it, but she's not afraid to do the difficult/heavy tasks.

Slow and steady wins the race, ladies. If we keep working hard, pulling our weight and showing that there is nothing that we cannot do, we will achieve all our goals, both individually, and as a *class* in society. :wink:

Edited by arielle (log)

Forget the house, forget the children. I want custody of the red and access to the port once a month.

KEVIN CHILDS.

Doesn't play well with others.

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A friend who is a cook told me that you need passion to make it. Everything else can be learned, but passion will drive you to wake up when you are exhausted, work the 13-14 hours required, deal with cuts, burns, yelling, etc. and, most important, force you to see beyond all of this to the reason why you do it--the satisfaction at the end of the night when you know you've busted your ass and everyone's been fed, all of the food's come together, looked nice and gone out. All of the work has paid off in such a tangible way.

Passion will also drive you to learn constantly, to perfect what you're doing and to try new things, experiment with new tastes, ingredients, and plating. It is, in fact, this pursuit of plating the perfect, towering salad, making the most beautiful quenelle of ice cream, dicing every carrot evenly--and consistently--that I feed off of, not to mention the adrenaline that excites me during service.

For me, I am keeping Carrot Top's words in mind: "It is a fire in the belly that will make women chefs..." I have this passion and I know what I will have to put up with, but I want it.

I do not agree with the reasoning that women want more balance and don't want to sacrifice relationships or maternity for a career, and I especially have a problem with the idea that women don't feel the need to be achievers in public and are happy to pursue their work quietly. This is not something unique to women. Why would we internalize the arguments against women going into the kitchen in this way? To me, this just supports the opposition.

I'm not saying that men and women are wired exactly the same. In fact, I don't think we are. But more than anything else, I think it is the difference in the way men interact with one another versus how they interact with women (and the comfort factor) that is important here. It's not that women are less strong or more sensitive or more prone to crying (and even if some are, this isn't what matters). When the modern kitchen as we know it was created, back in the days of Escoffier, it was male-dominated--and it still is today. I think it's that history has been able to perpetuate itself because women and men have internalized this very outdated idea that women are not in some way suited to this line of work. And I think the fact that the work is so physically demanding and hectic is a last attempt to kind of support the argument that women don't belong in kitchens.

EDIT: Now, having realized this, why is it still that women with the passion and knowledge of what they'll have to put up with aren't joining the ranks of "great" chefs with the speed that men are? It would seem that knowing what you've got to deal with and having the determination to get over it are enough? Am I wrong?

That's next, but I'll take a breather first. :wacko:

Edited by emilymarie (log)

"After all, these are supposed to be gutsy spuds, not white tablecloth social climbers."

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I do not agree with the reasoning that women want more balance and don't want to sacrifice relationships or maternity for a career

And in the case of maternity, you do rightly so.

Mrs. Johanna Maier ( who got two years ago the top rating in Austria with Gault-Millau) has two or three daughters, I believe. Mrs. Alciati, long time chef of THE leading piemontese restaurant has three sons. Late Mrs. Cantarelli, once chef of the leading restaurant in the Reggio Emilia, has two sons and a daughter.

I dont' know the familiar situation of any of the three (mentioned by Francesco) Italian female top chefs, but I think I've read somewhere that two of them are mothers.

So the classic argument that a women has to choose between (a great chef) career and maternity seems to be - disproved. Provided she's not working in France. Where obviously even to renounce of maternity doesn't help to make a career as a female chef.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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One more thing...A friend who worked in the pastry kitchen at the River Cafe and Picholine, among other NYC establishments once said that she practically forgot that she was a woman when she was working in the kitchen. She was referring to the fact that in order to fit in and be a part of the team, being "womanly" or not being accepting of certain types of lewd comments, actions, behavior, etc. would separate her from the rest of the kitchen workers.

Another young woman who I know told me that it's rough being a woman in a kitchen has said that the guys now don't even worry about offending her when they tell jokes and that she's just as bad as they are in terms of coming up with these so-called dirty jokes. One of the male cooks who we both work with said that the fact that she'd done this--opened the door for the male cooks to include her in the joking around--put her in a somewhat compromised position. Does it? It seems to me like her way of coping with potentially uncomfortable situations--if she joins them, she will never be the subject of their joking. I will say, however, that there's a bit of a difference when a man tells a dirty joke to a woman than to another man. I read it as a sort of challenge or something or a come-on that kind of paints you in a certain light...good or bad?!

"After all, these are supposed to be gutsy spuds, not white tablecloth social climbers."

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said that the fact that she'd done this--opened the door for the male cooks to include her in the joking around--put her in a somewhat compromised position. Does it? It seems to me like her way of coping with potentially uncomfortable situations--if she joins them, she will never be the subject of their joking. I will say, however, that there's a bit of a difference when a man tells a dirty joke to a woman than to another man. I read it as a sort of challenge or something or a come-on that kind of paints you in a certain light...good or bad?!

A dirty joke or fooling around verbally can have different connotations, meanings, and results depending on a huge variety of factors that have to be weighed at the time it happens.

Of course the guys do not forget you are a woman. If a dirty joke is told, it is told with the knowledge that you are there, and that you are a woman.

Whether it is a direct challenge of some sort of whether it is just plain meant to be fun has to be sensed.

And of course to sense it correctly, you have to be sure you are not becoming personally overwhelmed with the situation thereby creating within yourself inappropriate defensiveness which would ultimately make things uncomfortable.

If it makes you feel queasy by the tone or by the facial expression, then it's probably best to walk away from it and not be part of it.

If it seems like inclusion, even if it is not what you might consider the best sort( :laugh: ) then it can be a good thing.

And at best, it can be plain good fun.

Just my opinion. I am sure there are opposing ones... :wink:

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I'm the first American woman to have worked at El Bulli and the first American woman to have worked at Alain Ducasse's three star restaurant at the Plaza Athenee in Paris. And I believe that I'm also the first woman from anywhere to have been contracted by Les Ambassadeurs - the gastronomic restaurant of the Hotel de Crillon in Paris - the last of the palace hotels to be solely owned by the French.

I don't know the answer to the question at hand - why there are so few great women chefs. I speculate that the opportunities that I've had did not exist 30 years ago - about the time that the great chefs now first started their apprenticeships.

It IS different for a woman in a top kitchen. Sometimes better - in that I get excused from the real shit work. And sometimes worse - in that I have to be more persistent than the guys to get to work in the blood and guts - which is why I sometimes volunteer for the shit work.

This is a hard life. This must be not a vocation - but an avocation - regardless of gender.

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LKL Chu...I am curious as to what led you to desire to be a chef in the first place....and also am curious as to what background, path and/or specialized technical skills led you to obtaining positions in these high-profile restaurants....if you would share that?

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Congratulations LKL Chu! It's always wonderful to see someone who is enjoying such great success.

Forget the house, forget the children. I want custody of the red and access to the port once a month.

KEVIN CHILDS.

Doesn't play well with others.

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EDIT: Now, having realized this, why is it still that women with the passion and knowledge of what they'll have to put up with aren't joining the ranks of "great" chefs with the speed that men are? It would seem that knowing what you've got to deal with and having the determination to get over it are enough? Am I wrong?

This is a good question.

Is it that there are simply not enough women out there in charge of kitchens that aim for this in the first place...so that affects the numbers?

Is it that (as Rogov said in discussing women chefs in Israel) that most people dining at this sort of restaurant would rather 'shake the hand of a man than a woman' in thanks and congratulations at the end of a meal experience?

Is it that there is something inherent in the ratings systems that skews the numbers?

I don't have a clue. Maybe if Rogov reads this, he will jump in. Or someone else with accurate knowledge of how the ratings systems work. It may be different in different countries. Fat Guy, if you are reading this...you seem to have knowledge of these sorts of things...any ideas?

Boris has written that Italy seems to be doing better at these numbers than other countries...is this true? If so, why?

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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This is a good question.

Is it that there are simply not enough women out there in charge of kitchens that aim for this in the first place...so that affects the numbers?

I think that you may have hit the nail on the head, Karen. There are probably too few women chefs who started working in kitchens 20 or 30 years ago, who had a desire to achieve 'great' status, for them to feature prominently. I think that we'll find that in the years to come more and more women will be there at the top. (I hope!)

Forget the house, forget the children. I want custody of the red and access to the port once a month.

KEVIN CHILDS.

Doesn't play well with others.

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