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For Female Chefs, the Kitchen Still Feels Like a Man's World

For Female Chefs, the Kitchen Still Feels Like a Man's World


With female personalities like Padma Lakshmi, Giada De Laurentiis, and Cat Cora in the media spotlight, one would think that sexism in the kitchen is a non-issue. However, a provocative article in Time Out magazine argues that even if sex discrimination isn't overt, it's still prevalent. While "Mad Men-style ass-pinching" is no longer de rigueur, Rebecca Flint Marx points out that sex discrimination is clear when you notice (or don't) the amount of recognition that women chefs receive in comparison to their male counterparts.

Only 10 percent of the nation's executive chefs are female, and men vastly outnumber women when it comes to receiving accolades, such as a nomination for Food & Wine's Best New Chef, or a James Beard Foundation Award.

Donatella Arpaia attributes the disparity in the kitchen to women not getting enough publicity. Others blame it on the fact that women tend to work for smaller restaurant groups. Prominent female chefs have certainly complained of getting "passed over and not let into the club."

Yet, many in the industry remain hopeful: In recent years, women have gained ground in sommelier and maître d' positions and resources such as the New York Women's Culinary Alliance and Women Chefs and Restaurateurs exist to promote the advancement of women in the food industry.

Are you surprised to learn that women are still hitting a glass ceiling in a place as merit-based as the kitchen?

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