Should the Food Industry Separate the Accomplishments of Female Chefs Because They're Women?

Categories: Bites & Dishes

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

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TrixieDevereaux at Etsy.com
Chef Salt and Pepper Shakers
Last month, following the announcement of this year's 50 Best Female Chefs In The World, celebu-chef Eric Ripert, via Twitter, resurrected a question that's been brought up in the culinary world many times before: Should the food industry separate the accomplishments of female chefs because they're women?

See also:
- How Hard Is It to Hire and Keep Good Cooks?
- 20 Things No One Told You About Being a Chef in Phoenix

I asked Valley chefs and restaurateurs (male and female) for their thoughts on this ongoing debate and this is what they had to say:

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Gina Buskirk
Chef and Owner, Gina's Homemade

Absolutely not! We are not looking for set-asides, carve-outs, or feel-good accolades. It demeans the work, the person, and the accomplishment. Chefs, like achievers in any other field, should be recognized for their achievements alone.

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Josh Hebert
Chef and Owner, Posh

If they primarily deal with men in the kitchen, then, yes, they definitely deserve to have their accomplishments singled out. We're not the easiest bunch to get along with.

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Michael O'Dowd
Chef and Owner, Renegade MOD

No. It's a tough road for all female chefs, but it's an equally tough road for many male chefs. Both sexes share the flames and the fight for the light. In essence, they both burn accomplishments as one in the culinary scene. There are a ton of hot chefs out there, both female and male, that no one ever hears of.

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Silvana Salcido Esparza
Chef and owner, Barrio Cafe and Barrio Queen

Accomplishments are accomplishments. No need to point out that the chef is a female. Now, being a female in a man's world -- that's another story. I have tons of [those stories] -- saving them for the book. The bottom line is, if you're a badass, it doesn't matter. Your taste buds don't care about the gender of the chef. Really.



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4 comments
Bruce Griffin III
Bruce Griffin III

If we were in San Fran or New York, this question wouldnt even be raised. I worked for Tracy Des Jardin in San Fran. I would put her up against ANY cook in the valley. With her skills and her boat load of awards. There are women all around the country killing it and getting recognized. It just so happens that for whatever reason our area is really lacking recognizable woman cooks. I hope that changes soon.

pizzzieee3
pizzzieee3

a little off topic, but how in the world has this blog not done a post on Amy's Bakery Company since the social media fiasco that has caused massive viral and national attention? I mean even 2 paragraphs would be suffice.. Waiting on a big cover story or an exclusive interview? The silence and lack of coverage from you guys is simply shocking at this point seeing as in the last 48 hours the story has grown to absolutely ridiculous levels, and Chow Bella was the first to report on these crazies years ago!  You let the internet steal your buzz!

Thor Shreddington
Thor Shreddington

Yeah, I don't see why it's a question. I mean, is there a difference? Is it like, this dish is much more of an accomplishment from one or the other? I agree with Nick, I thought we were past this.

Nick Roen
Nick Roen

I would say no, it seems to somehow imply that it's a surprise. I thought we've gotten past that as a society. Maybe I'm ignorant of the food world, if so forgive me.

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