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A Little Respect for Black Chefs


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Does anyone know the percentage, if any, of black students in our professional cooking schools? That would be a start toward chefdom..for it is chefs rather than cooks that capture the public imgaination unless the cook is also the owner of a restaurant. I think it works from both ends..being able to take professional training and then having an interest in doing the kind of cooking that engenders publicity as Patrick Clark did. Had he lived, he would surely have been on TV and would have been an affable showman but he did creative cooking with an Amrican base and was also a chef at Bice in L.A.

I think there is something to the point made here that in the 60s and 70s other opportunities opened to African-Americans and they took it. Even for whites, other than French, being a cook-chef was regarded as being a servant. It took Bocuse and the highly educated-turned-chefs in the 70s to make it a celebrity role.

I know there are black students in NYC public high schools that teach professional cooking. Anyone trace the results?

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Does anyone know the percentage, if any, of black students in our professional cooking schools?  That would be a start toward chefdom..for it is chefs rather than cooks that capture the public imgaination unless the cook is also the owner of a restaurant. I think it works from both ends..being able to take professional training and then having an interest in doing the kind of cooking that engenders publicity as Patrick Clark did. Had he lived, he would surely have been on TV and would have been an affable showman but he did creative cooking with an Amrican base and was also a chef at Bice in L.A.

I think there is something to the point made here that in the 60s and 70s other opportunities opened to African-Americans and they took it. Even for whites, other than French, being a cook-chef was regarded as being a servant. It took Bocuse and the highly educated-turned-chefs in the 70s to make it a celebrity role.

I know there are black students in NYC public high schools that teach professional cooking.  Anyone trace the results?

Much higher at LCB Pasadena where I teach than it is at CIA quote in the NYT article.

I don't have the official numbers right now, but in classes I've taught I estimate 20%-30%.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

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JohnL - With regard to your statement "I would be comfortable with the notion that the restaurant industry is not racist" - the one area where I think this is definitely not true is when you're talking about servers at high end restaurants (those are frequently higher paying jobs than any kitchen jobs). That part of the restaurant world tends to be very sexist as well. It is very rare to find African-American or female servers at these restaurants - and - when I do run across the occasional African-American server - odds are it's a gay guy (I can recall only 2 female African-American servers in high end restaurants in years and years - and both restaurants were in the San Francisco Bay Area). Robyn

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One other thing reading this thread. As a white person of a certain background - I think it is incredibly presumptuous to think that what certain white people (and far from all of them) like in the way of a fine dining experience is what other kinds of people like too. And when it comes to so-called "fine dining" - even all white people of a certain background aren't in agreement. I liked Chez Panisse better than Per Se. So shoot me. So the entire premise that there are a fair number of African-Americans who aspire to be chefs in high end restaurants that have nothing to do with their backgrounds - or personal likes/dislikes might be false. After all - how many nice Jewish boys aspire to be chefs in fancy French restaurants?

I have actually been to a high end (expensive) African-American owned/operated restaurant which specialized in dishes that were thought to be of interest to high end African-American diners. African-Americans in the kitchen - and as servers. I don't think it was the best food in the world - but it was a beautiful restaurant - smack dab in the middle of Beverly Hills - and even if the food wasn't the greatest in my opinion (being from the south - I am critical when it comes to southern food) - it was a fun meal - and I have never seen so many African-American celebrities in one place at one time. Have no idea whether this restaurant still exists (I was there in 2000 - and places in Beverly Hills come and go with some regularity). Anyway - this is the restaurant:

Reign Restaurant 180 North Robertson Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, 310-358-0400, Transforming Southern and soul food, based on the family recipes of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver, KeShawn Johnson, this down home restaurant features this traditional comfort food in an upscale, contemporary atmosphere.

Robyn

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Have no idea whether this restaurant still exists (I was there in 2000 - and places in Beverly Hills come and go with some regularity).  Anyway - this is the restaurant: 

Reign Restaurant 180 North Robertson Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, 310-358-0400, Transforming Southern and soul food, based on the family recipes of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver, KeShawn Johnson, this down home restaurant features this traditional comfort food in an upscale, contemporary atmosphere.

FYI Reign Restaurant no longer exists, Robyn.

The only Black executive chef that I've met is Robert Gadsby. Note that I didn't say African-American, because Robert Gadsby grew up in England. Here's Robert Gadsby's biography on the Noé website.

Chef Gadsby's style is not Southern or soul food. Instead, it's New American with an Asian aesthetic. And he was Sous Chef under Thomas Keller at Checkers Hotel (before The French Laundry). I'm surprised that I don't hear his name more.

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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FWIW, the best cooking I have ever experienced from the hands of a black chef is also amongst the very best I have ever experienced. That chef is Shola Olunloyo of Studio Kitchen in Philadelphia fame. He is a remarkably talented and charismatic individual.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

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Again, is the fact that though there seems to be an abundance of line cooks of Mexican origin here in New York kitchens would one looking at the dearth of mexican Americans on the Food Network hosting cooking shows indicate that the FN is racist? Or that because there are few executive chefs of Mexican American origin running kitchens mean the restaurants here in NY are racist?

Is it more likely that the answer lies in the fact that these line cooks are mostly from poor backgrounds and do not have the education the mastery of English the business acumen etc to run a restaurant or host a TV show!

We agree, the answer is in part because those cooks, dishwashers, butchers and preps are from poor backgrounds. They live mostly in squalor and well below the poverty line. But, I find this to be the best current day example of racism and explotation in the restaurant business. The majority of these people are not here legally, sometimes working 2 and 3 to a single SS card and paid as such by restaurant owners far below what is standard or acceptable because the owners are well aware of their status and can.

We couldn't even begin to talk about Food TV and Exec. chefdom for this group. In their world business acumen translates into something most of us here do not worry about and might not be able to pull off....how do I feed my extended family from grandmother to infant new born on what I can scrounge off the books at 80 hrs per week because no one will sponsor for a green card.

The original question still remains unanswered for me. If African Americans have triumphed and raised themselves up and into the courtrooms and boardrooms and out of these same jobs that are now occupied by Mexican Americans why hasn't that also translated into restaurant ownership and media status in proportionate numbers to the majority. It is at least clear that one African American chef, Chef Samuelsson would like to make that move.

mike

Edited by NYC Mike (log)

-Mike & Andrea

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This is an interesting topic. There is much to think about in hearing of the personal experiences and in the numbers that whatever studies exist can provide.

One would like to see things fair and equal in this world for all, but how to make it happen either as individuals or as a society is an uphill battle. Change is a creaky, slow, confused thing for both individuals and institutions.

My own experience is not in the "restaurant" industry that serves the public but rather in the corporate sector - private dining.

As Executive Chef, out of eight cooks, I was able to hire (this was in the 80's and I would guess that the situation has changed somewhat, but from what I am reading above, not all that much) only one African-American. To anyone who looked at the this from outside, it would look as if he was hired as the "token black". The fact of the matter is that out of the many resumes that landed on my desk for perusal, he was the only one that turned out to be African-American when he arrived for the interview. He was hired based on his skills and I am sure that if he decided to stay in the industry (I did hear that he was considering leaving the industry to go into IT) he would have done very well, for he was both skilled and driven, with a great personality.

When I grew to encompass front-of-house as part of the hiring responsibilities, it was the exact same scenario, strangely enough. We had one woman who was African-American as a server, again raising the spectre to any onlookers of tokenism. She was unhappy in her solo role, and when positions did open, she tried to encourage her friends to apply for the job, but none ever did - I really do not know why.

Yes, this was high-end dining. Not public, but still it was about fine food and fine service, as it was expected that anyone who would be brought to dine here would be entertained with the equal savoir-faire and grace that could be found at any "top" restaurant in the city.

Why didn't more people of color apply for these jobs? I don't know. It could be that other avenues seemed better for a secure or happy future. I would not presume to guess or say.

One thing, touching on what Pontormo mentioned earlier. When I left my job there (unhappy myself with both the business of food and the business of business) one of the partners asked me what I would do. I said I didn't really know. Maybe travel, maybe consulting, maybe (as some of the other partners of the firm had suggested) I should "open a restaurant". La-de-dah.

A blunt and commonsense sort of man was he. "Immigrants open restaurants. Are you really sure you want to do all that hard work?" I blinked at him, not really knowing what to say. "Otherwise, you'll need a lot of money. Probably at least half a million dollars."

It's a tough row to hoe, either way. Either having the connections to summon up big bucks then to be responsible to your investors, as Executive Chef - or, alternately, shoe-stringing it with family and friends.

This industry is at this moment in time teetering between being considered professional and "fun"; or alternately vocational and hard work. The benefit packages that attend most entry into professions are not inherent in this industry yet - medical insurance, etc, etc.

It isn't "right" yet. Will it be? I don't know, but I am sure that it will get better, just as it has for women in the kitchen in higher echelon positions.

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One other thing reading this thread.  As a white person of a certain background - I think it is incredibly presumptuous to think that what certain white people (and far from all of them) like in the way of a fine dining experience is what other kinds of people like too.  And when it comes to so-called "fine dining" - even all white people of a certain background aren't in agreement.  I liked Chez Panisse better than Per Se.  So shoot me.  So the entire premise that there are a fair number of African-Americans who aspire to be chefs in high end restaurants that have nothing to do with their backgrounds - or personal likes/dislikes might be false.  After all - how many nice Jewish boys aspire to be chefs in fancy French restaurants?

I have actually been to a high end (expensive) African-American owned/operated restaurant which specialized in dishes that were thought to be of interest to high end African-American diners.  African-Americans in the kitchen - and as servers.  I don't think it was the best food in the world - but it was a beautiful restaurant - smack dab in the middle of Beverly Hills - and even if the food wasn't the greatest in my opinion (being from the south - I am critical when it comes to southern food) - it was a fun meal - and I have never seen so many African-American celebrities in one place at one time.  Have no idea whether this restaurant still exists (I was there in 2000 - and places in Beverly Hills come and go with some regularity).  Anyway - this is the restaurant: 

Reign Restaurant 180 North Robertson Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, 310-358-0400, Transforming Southern and soul food, based on the family recipes of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver, KeShawn Johnson, this down home restaurant features this traditional comfort food in an upscale, contemporary atmosphere.

Robyn

Robyn

First--there are traditions.

Every industry has them. traditions are usually evolving and changing as times change.

You may want to use "racist" and "sexist" to describe some of these I prefer to reserve those very serious terms to situations warranting them. I believe we tend to devalue them.

Traditionally, cooking was "women's work" in the home and haute cuisine was a man's world.

Med didn't cook at home and women didn't work in high end restaurants.

Society changes and there are pioneers and traditions fall.. (new one's are established).

African Americans are no different than caucasian peoples or Hispanics--those Mexicans who work in kitchens more like Guatamlan's or Cubans who come from similar impoverished backgrounds than they are like wealthy Mexicans who have university (here or there) degrees and live in expensive apartments or homes in the suburbs.

Samuelson is making this point when he notes that African Americans are not about just "soul food" (or any particular cuisine) and as they experience different levels of success and education and are exposed to different cuisines more will become interested in pursuing careers in food and restaurants etc. that's all.

Seems as though he is correct if one notes the posters who have indicated more and more African Americans are enrolling in cooking schools.

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Samuelson is making this point when he notes that African Americans are not about just "soul food" (or any particular cuisine) and as they experience different levels of success and education and are exposed to different cuisines more will become interested in pursuing careers in food and restaurants etc. that's all.

Seems as though he is correct if one notes the posters who have indicated more and more African Americans are enrolling in cooking schools.

That stat is fodder for your essentially optimistic view of the situation. And given that it's only been very recently that (a) blacks have had full access to the wide range of glittering prizes the larger American society offers and (b) working in the food industry has acquired a patina of glamour that extends beyond those haute cuisine places, it may well be that we are just now seeing the effects of those two trends put together: African-Americans may be getting beyond the notion that kitchen work is inherently demeaning the way it used to be.

The democratization of excellence also helps things along insofar as it is now possible to conceive "high-end" dining experiences derived from "common" or "ethnic" or "peasant" or...you get the idea...cuisines. When I read Robyn's post, I thought that she was referring to B. Smith's, the upscale Manhattan (and Washington) restaurant started by the fashion-model-turned-style-setter à la Martha Stewart, whose menu combines just about all the African-derived culinary traditions in the Western Hemisphere. (Here in Philadelphia, the Bynum brothers cover the same territory and mix it with black musical traditions in their two establishments, Zanzibar Blue [jazz] and Warmdaddy's [blues], both well regarded for both their food and the musicians who play there.)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

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Robyn

First--there are traditions.

Every industry has them. traditions are usually evolving and changing as times change.

You may want to use "racist" and "sexist" to describe some of these I prefer to reserve those very serious terms to situations warranting them. I believe we tend to devalue them...

I don't use these terms lightly. There have indeed been successful Title VII cases against restaurants which discriminated against women servers (like Joe's Stone Crabs in Miami). Perhaps the discrimination was part of a certain "tradition" - but it was wrong and illegal. Likewise - McCormick & Schmick’s was sued for race discirmination earlier this year. And I'm sure there are similar cases. Robyn

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It's the "traditions" that are precisely the most nefarious form of racism and sexism.

It's easy to deal with the truly evil people operating on the basis of irrational hatred. What's harder to deal with are the perfectly nice people operating on the basis of unexamined assumptions -- which are just as harmful as the unmitigated evil.

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It's the "traditions" that are precisely the most nefarious form of racism and sexism.

It's easy to deal with the truly evil people operating on the basis of irrational hatred.  What's harder to deal with are the perfectly nice people operating on the basis of unexamined assumptions -- which are just as harmful as the unmitigated evil.

very well put.

can't believe it's not butter? i can.

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It's the "traditions" that are precisely the most nefarious form of racism and sexism.

It's easy to deal with the truly evil people operating on the basis of irrational hatred.  What's harder to deal with are the perfectly nice people operating on the basis of unexamined assumptions -- which are just as harmful as the unmitigated evil.

Exactly what I mean when I wrote about "indirect" racism. Echoing Bethala, well put, indeed.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Call it a grudge deferred if you will, but part of the reason (besides its factuality) many blacks go on about the persistence and influence of racism, even where it is not as influential as either it once was or as some believe, is because we have gotten to know about those past injustices more and feel them more strongly since finally becoming the moral and legal equals of whites, at least in the American context.

To me that statement is very upsetting.. I hear a lot of talk about racism and discrimination.. I just want to point out that to assume an entire population, or one entire race's traditions are racist, is indeed racist...

Also, does anyone know what the ratio is between Black Chefs and Black Americans.. Is it that far out of whack.. What percentage of America's Population is Black Compared to the Percentage in the Kitchens?

Please dot take this post as argumentative, I would really like to know if we have established the numbers.

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Speaking of Samuelsson, there was a pretty interesting profile of him in Oprah magazine, September issue. Worth looking up if you have access to recent back issues IMO. It talks about his new book, which I will be sure to get hold of sooner rather than later.

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Also, does anyone know what the ratio is between Black Chefs and Black Americans.. Is it that far out of whack.. What percentage of America's Population is Black Compared to the Percentage in the Kitchens?

Please dot take this post as argumentative, I would really like to know if we have established the numbers.

i can give you the general population part: 12%, with the percentages being higher in major cities, for the most part.

can't believe it's not butter? i can.

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Also, does anyone know what the ratio is between Black Chefs and Black Americans.. Is it that far out of whack.. What percentage of America's Population is Black Compared to the Percentage in the Kitchens?

Please dot take this post as argumentative, I would really like to know if we have established the numbers.

i can give you the general population part: 12%, with the percentages being higher in major cities, for the most part.

Here is a pretty interesting article on black US chefs written in June 2006:click

While the restaurant industry, including fast-food chains, employs more minority managers than any other industry in America, according to a 2003 NRA news release, African Americans constitute a mere 10% of the culinary industry. A 2005 salary survey conducted by StarChefs.com reveals that only 4% of African Americans hold the position of sous-chef or above. Faces of color are few in the world of fine dining, where menu prices are higher, kitchen pay is better (at the executive level the average annual salary is $75,000), and chefs are as revered as rock stars. We talked to several who have successfully handled the heat to set their sights on the nation's top tables.

These six chefs, whose responsibilities include menu planning, staff management, and budget preparation, as well as maintaining financial and inventory records, have arrived from very different paths: trained by master chefs, grandmothers, cooking schools, and even a prison kitchen. They all share a reverence for legendary black chefs who paved the way such as Leah Chase and Robert Gadsby and the late greats Patrick Clark and Edna Lewis. Many credit early exposure to diverse cuisines and encouragement from family and professional mentors to pursue their culinary dreams.

They, and the small but growing cadre of great black chefs around the country, are inventing new ways to share their passion for food by bringing a heritage of flavors and experience to the American table.

The way it is written, I *think* it is saying that of the African American in the food industry, 4% of those are sous chef or higher so this does not get at an estimate of the percentage of blacks in the available sous-chef and higher positions. Maybe this sentence is clearer to someone else...

(bold text highlighted by me)

The article then has comments from six black executive chefs about their experiences and opinions.

The chefs in the article are:

WALTER ROYAL executive chef angus barn Raleigh, NC

JEFFERY HENDERSON executive chef cafe bellagio Las Vegas, NV

WAYNE JOHNSON executive chef andaluca restaurant Seattle, WA

ERIKA DAVIS executive pastry chef the peabody Memphis, TN

MARCUS SAMUELSSON executive chef & co-owner aquavit New York, NYC

TIMOTHY DEAN executive chef & owner timothy dean bistro Baltimore, MD

Read each of their stories about how they got into cooking and progressed in their careers. It is pretty fascinating and reveals many different paths to the goal. Some went to college, some attended culinary schools and some were mentored by established chefs and learned on the job.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Also, does anyone know what the ratio is between Black Chefs and Black Americans.. Is it that far out of whack.. What percentage of America's Population is Black Compared to the Percentage in the Kitchens?

Please dot take this post as argumentative, I would really like to know if we have established the numbers.

i can give you the general population part: 12%, with the percentages being higher in major cities, for the most part.

Here is a pretty interesting article on black US chefs written in June 2006:click

While the restaurant industry, including fast-food chains, employs more minority managers than any other industry in America, according to a 2003 NRA news release, African Americans constitute a mere 10% of the culinary industry. A 2005 salary survey conducted by StarChefs.com reveals that only 4% of African Americans hold the position of sous-chef or above. Faces of color are few in the world of fine dining, where menu prices are higher, kitchen pay is better (at the executive level the average annual salary is $75,000), and chefs are as revered as rock stars. We talked to several who have successfully handled the heat to set their sights on the nation's top tables.

These six chefs, whose responsibilities include menu planning, staff management, and budget preparation, as well as maintaining financial and inventory records, have arrived from very different paths: trained by master chefs, grandmothers, cooking schools, and even a prison kitchen. They all share a reverence for legendary black chefs who paved the way such as Leah Chase and Robert Gadsby and the late greats Patrick Clark and Edna Lewis. Many credit early exposure to diverse cuisines and encouragement from family and professional mentors to pursue their culinary dreams.

They, and the small but growing cadre of great black chefs around the country, are inventing new ways to share their passion for food by bringing a heritage of flavors and experience to the American table.

The way it is written, I *think* it is saying that of the African American in the food industry, 4% of those are sous chef or higher so this does not get at an estimate of the percentage of blacks in the available sous-chef and higher positions. Maybe this sentence is clearer to someone else...

(bold text highlighted by me)

The article then has comments from six black executive chefs about their experiences and opinions.

The chefs in the article are:

WALTER ROYAL executive chef angus barn Raleigh, NC

JEFFERY HENDERSON executive chef cafe bellagio Las Vegas, NV

WAYNE JOHNSON executive chef andaluca restaurant Seattle, WA

ERIKA DAVIS executive pastry chef the peabody Memphis, TN

MARCUS SAMUELSSON executive chef & co-owner aquavit New York, NYC

TIMOTHY DEAN executive chef & owner timothy dean bistro Baltimore, MD

Read each of their stories about how they got into cooking and progressed in their careers. It is pretty fascinating and reveals many different paths to the goal. Some went to college, some attended culinary schools and some were mentored by established chefs and learned on the job.

Thanks for the information.. I am glad we established some factual data..

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It is at least clear that one African American chef, Chef Samuelsson would like to make that move.

mike

just to be clear, Marcus Samuelsson is not African American he is African (Ethiopian) and was raised in Sweden and adopted into a Swedish family.

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Another very good article from the NT Times this past spring:

click

(It's available for free but you probably fave to sign up for free registration)

Seven or eight black chefs are interviewed and speak of their experiences.

Many of the issues that were brought up in this thread are discussed including:

Cultural stigma in their family's eyes

Lack of role models/fellow workers/mentors in high end cuisine

Racism

Stereotyping (only cooking “soul food”)

Jean George Vongerichten is mentioned as being a mentor who has trained or nutured many black high end chefs. Judy Rodgers and some others mention that applications from blacks are extremely low. The figures given for black attendance at several culinary schools is low but getting closer to population percentage (85 out of 2700 at one and 40 out of 450 at another.)

Several people say that they see it changing with the added postive exposure of food related careers in the media such as The Food Network.

People do have to push and be creative to reach goals or dreams they are passionate about especially if they are in a demographic that is underrepresented in a given field that may be very competitive or require a non-traditional path. As a female scientist I have seen many examples and challenges and firsts for women pushing up to the higher levels in science (top research labs, research faculty positions, executive postions in industry, etc.). I am speaking of events in the last 10 years also, not 50 years ago.

edited to add: This article has already been cited and linked by a few others above... :wub: It's a nice article by Michael Ruhlman; check it out if you haven't yet read it.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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It is at least clear that one African American chef, Chef Samuelsson would like to make that move.

mike

just to be clear, Marcus Samuelsson is not African American he is African (Ethiopian) and was raised in Sweden and adopted into a Swedish family.

Thanks for the correction on the "american" bit. I think for the purpose of the conversation the fact that he is black and wanting makes the point.

-mike

Edited by NYC Mike (log)

-Mike & Andrea

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It's the "traditions" that are precisely the most nefarious form of racism and sexism.

It's easy to deal with the truly evil people operating on the basis of irrational hatred.  What's harder to deal with are the perfectly nice people operating on the basis of unexamined assumptions -- which are just as harmful as the unmitigated evil.

Exactly what I mean when I wrote about "indirect" racism. Echoing Bethala, well put, indeed.

You can stretch the terms all you want.

The fact is no one here at least, has even made a modest case that any African American (or anyone from any cultural background) who desires to become a chef can not do so, by any number of avenues.

In fact, most of the evidence is to the contrary.

Unfortunately, racism is a human trait--there is not a culture on earth that is totally free of it.

If you want to say that traditions can and have been exclusionary, I will agree.

The great mistake is looking at life in terms of numbers and making assumptions without any understanding of what is really at play.

There is often a story behind the numbers that can not be boiled down to "racism."

"Indirect racism"--sounds a lot like a "little pregnant."

The apprentice systems from Europe are where much of the training and work systems operative here are based upon.

They have clearly been improved upon here over the years. Now one needs the education and the drive to succeed in most businesses (and the talent).

One does not, for the most part, need a family connection to get training to be a plumber or whatever.

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yes, the kitchens are full of Hispanics, Blacks, whatever, if anyone strives to ascend the ladder they most assuredly would have the opportunity I felt. But most just wanted to come in and do their job and hope for a raise each year.

Yeah, whatever, all the same right...

So all Blacks, Hispanics, whatever just want to work and get more money, not fame, promotion, fortune, celebrity etc? What gives you this impression?

The professional kitchen is one place in my experience that one can acheive by virtue of hard work, skill, and dilligence.

Yeah, professional kitchens are the picture of fairness and equal oppertunity. No really, If in YOUR PERCEPTION Blacks and Hispanics, and whatever, just wanted to go in and get the job done for more money, why would hard work, skill and dilligence matter at all- if THEY didn't want to move foreward. Saying someone works hard, but seems more than happy to pass on a promotion (other than more money. say) seems a bit nearsighted, no?

Uh, my experience in the industry. Where do you draw your conclusions from?

Why are hardworking people being passed up for promotions?

Rascism exists! Sometimes stepping up to the plate is just not enough- someones got to throw you a pitch.

Uh, my experience in the industry. Where do you draw your conclusions from?Ok, so we should promote on quotas, to fill niches, how about you bank rolling this establishment? As a exec and head chef, I promote on the ability to perform and the willingness to accept the responsibilities. Again I say, not every cook wants this responsibility. Why is this so hard to believe? Its prevalent in every other industry. If I had a majority of blacks applying for positions in my kitchens, then I would have a majority of blacks working in them, or any other race. But in my house,

the cooking is technical, so there must be a base level of technical proficiency to step in at a cooking level. I promote from within, my dishwasher will soon move up to a cook position, but will he be head chef soon , no. Its a craft and take years to learn, will he have the patience to learn, who knows? Maybe you can give him a pep talk. Brazilians make up most of the kitchen crews in my area, some are motivated to ascend the ladder, and they do, others just want reliabilty and consistency with out the weight of resposibilty of leadership. They come in do their job great, and leave. Whats wrong with that?

A great idea; Go out and ask these folks their opinions, everyone seems to be speaking for them instead.

Edited by Timh (log)
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yes, the kitchens are full of Hispanics, Blacks, whatever, if anyone strives to ascend the ladder they most assuredly would have the opportunity I felt. But most just wanted to come in and do their job and hope for a raise each year.

Yeah, whatever, all the same right...

So all Blacks, Hispanics, whatever just want to work and get more money, not fame, promotion, fortune, celebrity etc? What gives you this impression?

The professional kitchen is one place in my experience that one can acheive by virtue of hard work, skill, and dilligence.

Yeah, professional kitchens are the picture of fairness and equal oppertunity. No really, If in YOUR PERCEPTION Blacks and Hispanics, and whatever, just wanted to go in and get the job done for more money, why would hard work, skill and dilligence matter at all- if THEY didn't want to move foreward. Saying someone works hard, but seems more than happy to pass on a promotion (other than more money. say) seems a bit nearsighted, no?

Uh, my experience in the industry. Where do you draw your conclusions from?

Why are hardworking people being passed up for promotions?

Rascism exists! Sometimes stepping up to the plate is just not enough- someones got to throw you a pitch.

Uh, my experience in the industry. Where do you draw your conclusions from?Ok, so we should promote on quotas, to fill niches, how about you bank rolling this establishment? As a exec and head chef, I promote on the ability to perform and the willingness to accept the responsibilities. Again I say, not every cook wants this responsibility. Why is this so hard to believe? Its prevalent in every other industry. If I had a majority of blacks applying for positions in my kitchens, then I would have a majority of blacks working in them, or any other race. But in my house,

the cooking is technical, so there must be a base level of technical proficiency to step in at a cooking level. I promote from within, my dishwasher will soon move up to a cook position, but will he be head chef soon , no. Its a craft and take years to learn, will he have the patience to learn, who knows? Maybe you can give him a pep talk. Brazilians make up most of the kitchen crews in my area, some are motivated to ascend the ladder, and they do, others just want reliabilty and consistency with out the weight of resposibilty of leadership. They come in do their job great, and leave. Whats wrong with that?

A great idea; Go out and ask these folks their opinions, everyone seems to be speaking for them instead.

yeah. I AM one of them. Me a Black cook, yup, me. Culinary school, line cooking, editorial food...me. I know how I feel and my experiances, and guess what? they are totally valid and 100% the subject at hand. I am what we are discussing, so pehaps I should go give myself a pep talk after I get ignored for a promotion, or totally underpaid. It SUCKS to watch people with the exact same credentials or less move foreward or right past you. After a little while you stop making excuses for your loving bosses and try to examine what's really going on.

hmm...maybe it's because I'm a woman?

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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