More on Women in Restaurants

Just minutes after I posted this ditty on the male dominated restaurant industry, and how it’s reflected in Food & Wine‘s recent nominations for the People’s Best New Chef award (to recap: Less than 7% of the nominees are women), my local alt daily posted this. It’s a quote from one of the co-founders of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United on the same issue.

Because the Gambit doesn’t include hyperlinks in the online versions of its stories (though it does in the blog versions that sometimes appear a week before the published print article), I don’t have the original article whence this quote comes. And I’m too lazy to Google it. But basically, only one in five chefs in America are women, making F&W‘s 6.67% even more noticeable. But far scarier is this: “nearly 37 percent of all sexual harassment charges filed by women with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission come from the restaurant industry.”

I should note, too, that I’m not calling out F&W for being, like, totally sexist. (Though even if I was, not like anyone reads this humble little Tumblr.) I think their nominations just reflect a grim reality of the restaurant industry. Mostly, I would just like to know more: Why do so few women work in professional kitchens, even in the 21st Century?

Don’t Ever Try to Claim Workforces Aren’t Gendered

I used to work in education. During that period of my life, nearly every one of my co-workers was female; the majority of my friends were female. Now, my assortment of friends is starting to balance out a bit. This is because I now work in anĀ incredibly male field. Cooking is so male-dominated, as is the group of hangers-on of which I am a part. (That is, the people who live vicariously through cooks and chefs via television, the internet and/or print.)

Look at this list. By my count, there are 7 women out of 105 nominees. That’s 6.67%. That’s just not okay. And these are the best new chefs, meaning this is (admittedly a very limited) look at the future of the profession.

This is not okay. I don’t know what to do about it, but it’s not okay.