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Jun 12, 2008 11:39 AM

Where are the Women?

Interesting read by Gourmet Magazine

"A look at why so few female chefs have risen to the top of the restaurant scene."

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  1. well, a very, erm, *traditional* french chef did say to me that women can't be chefs because according to him, women need to urinate more than men do. ;-)

    1. one thing the article didn't touch upon is the fact that even in LA, there are more high-profile female chefs than there are in NY. the suzannes [goin & tracht], josie lebalch, susan feniger, mary sue milliken, nancy silverton, sherry yard [okay, so the last 2 are pastry chefs, but still...]

      1. I finally listened to the interview with Colicchio and, in addition to being way defensive about the gender issue, he said that there are fewer women in the business because they drop out... when they have children. I really did a double-take at that one. He sort of tried to soften/explain it, but that just sounded so, retro I guess.

        7 Replies
        1. re: mselectra

          he said that there are fewer women in the business because they drop out... when they have children.
          Well, if it's true, why is that an issue?

          1. re: LindaWhit


            people are so concerned about being PC, they're afraid of sounding sexist...even when it's just reality.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              I know - that's what surprised me. It's political correctness run amok. It's stupid. It's too bad that Chef Colicchio felt he had to backtrack and soften what he said. Facts is facts.

          2. re: mselectra

            It is hard enough working "regular" hours with children, it gets even harder when nights and weekends are part of the equation. Many people leave the restaurant business once they have children. Often it is leave or miss too much...

            1. re: meatn3

              It's true, it's harder to stay in the business with all the hours and demands if you've got a family -- unless you've got some kind of excellent support network. But since the reality is that most couples need two incomes to support a family, the odds of having a Mr. Mom at home is less likely.

              My sister was a full-time chef for 12 years until she had her first child. She managed to work until she was five months pregnant. You want awful stories? Talk to a woman who is five months pregnant working on a line for 10 hours on her feet. It was tough. She took off six months and went back to work when her daughter was about seven weeks old. She did it for a year, but when she was pregnant with her second child, she didn't want to go through it again.

              She's still in the industry, but now she's now in catering, and does restaurant consulting. The thing that's irritating is that just because you're not a "chef" working on the line, it doesn't mean that you're any less of a culinary professional, as this story sort of implies.

              1. re: chef_max

                a friend of mine mentioned it's the standing on your feet for 10+ hours and ending up with varicose veins that did it for her

            2. re: mselectra

              Kind of a weird coincidence that one of the last 4 on TC was Antonia, who constantly talks about her daughter and the fact that she's a single mom.

            3. Thanks for sharing this article, and all the more reason to congratulate Stephanie on winning Top Chef!