No Press For Women Chefs

SS Member Image By drodriguez 01.23.09
No Press For Women Chefs
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It’s no secret that most of the top restaurants across the country are dominated by male executive chefs.  Though women have become a mainstay in professional kitchens, it is rare to find them in top positions like executive chef.  A big reason why women are not climbing the ladder fast enough in this industry may be because of the lack of press they receive.

According to the Women Chefs & Restaurateurs organization, women make up only 10 percent of the executive-level chef positions in the U.S.  A recent article from Time Out New York magazine reported on the way the media pushes women chefs out of the spotlight while focusing on men.  The article describes a recent awards ceremony held for a male chef.  After the event all of the top female chefs that attended were left out of the media’s coverage.  In fact, the only woman spoken about in the article was Chef Bobby Flay’s “stunning” wife. 

Restaurant owner, Donatella Arpaia, reported to the magazine about the way women are often glossed over in the press.  She said, “A lot of women don’t get a lot of publicity.  And frankly, ladies don’t tend to be as aggressive as men in seeking publicity.  There’s a tendency for women to not make it about us.”

Names like Mario Batali and Bobby Flay have become household names among many interested in the restaurant industry.  Though women have not quite made it to this point yet, it has become apparent that we are making our way up by holding positions that were once exclusively thought of as male roles.  Maite Montenegro, who was hired last year as the maitre d’ at a top New York restaurant told Time Out that a few of the (male) guests are still shocked to find a woman holding her position.  But Montenegro said, “After a while, (guests) just want to be taken care of.”

What do you think of the idea that women chefs are often ignored in the press?

Do you think this is the reason women have had a hard time gaining notoriety in the restaurant industry?
 

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  • foodmaven By foodmaven
    11.07.13  

    I'm a chef agent for over 2,100 chefs and I'm a woman. If female chefs want representation they need to go no where else. Here I am. www.chefnetworkinc.com If you want some feedback from someone who has been booking chefs for media, etc., for over 10 years, I'm happy to answer your questions. Thanks. Carmen

  • rusty2rusty By rusty2rusty
    02.06.09  

    I think more woman chefs need to be acknowledge. Sure some men can cook. But what steak and hamburger? Sorry but I still think a woman can out cook a man any day of the week. (those woman that can actually cook) There ares till more woman in that position as a cook today than men. But hardly any get the recognition they deserve.

  • laguna_dreamz By laguna_dreamz
    02.05.09  

    I agree! I am an assistant pastry chef at a great bakery in Maine. I have been there for three years, worked my butt off, given them everything I've got to prove I am worthy of a higher position. Still, assistant. It blows! I have seen three different head chefs come in and leave, and not once have they talked about moving me up! I have been there for awhile and plan on staying for much longer, if something gives! Otherwise they will loose a very valuable employee! It is a Man's World. grrrrrrrrr!!!!

  • staabch1 By staabch1
    02.04.09  

    This I agree is extremely true. Unless you are a size 0 model/actress then you have no chance at the same tv shows or even options as males. When a female goes in to apply for a head chef job in a fine dining restaurant she is looked at different than a male chef is. Even going down to being a waitress, you are judged by your looks.

  • erica_cal By erica_cal
    02.04.09  

    We need to start promoting ourselves more no matter what field we are in--divas!! I'm glad to see this web site talking about such important issues!

  • salome By salome
    02.03.09  

    It's funny how the same thing happens in the fashion industry where most top fashion designers are men rather than women even though you would expect women to dominate this field. Mechanisms need to be created to target women and help them succeed in these fields.

  • susannah By susannah
    02.03.09  

    Here's a listing to find some woman-led restaurant in your area (they are members of an organizationl, so not nearly a full listing, but it is a start! http://www.womenchefs.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=51

  • susannah By susannah
    02.03.09  

    It is the same in the wine world- very few sommeliers are women. However I do know some fabulous women who own and/or manage some of the best wineries in Italy and France. Let's find a way to get their products on the site (and perhaps some exposes about them and their wonderful skills!)

  • Mirpipbon By Mirpipbon
    02.01.09  

    I believe that men can , because of their super inflated egos, dictate better than women. However, women have a more "team effort" philosophy and are much more logical, and more effective in the long run ie. employee turnover. However, the woman's thought process takes more time and is fairer to all, but herself. On the upside, keep in mind that in most really good restauants the women are usually in charge of the adminstrative / public relations positions. Bottom line we care too much about how others feel about us and unless one wants to become a tyrannical bitch that everybody complains about, we are stuck in our caring, thoughtful substandard positions. I hope somewhere out there there is a happy median.

  • nanners520 By nanners520
    01.30.09  

    I think it is sad that women are left out of the press in the culinary world-but this is happening in many other areas of business as well. There are certain positions that seem to be more male dominated (CEOs, Doctors, Construction Workers, Professional Sports Players, etc...), but part of it is the fact that women have a more difficult time obtaining high positions. In order for this to change, we need time, and to start recognizing outstanding women who are good at their jobs.

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