Mars and Venus
Julia Child had to fight her way into the Cordon Bleu. It was unheard of for a woman to be permitted to train alongside the men. It wasn’t easy for her to earn their respect. She had to prove herself again and again and surpass all their expectations. As recently as the 70’s and 80’s and maybe still, women have to work twice as hard and be twice as talented to earn respect in the boy’s club environment of most kitchens. If you think that 2019 has brought about a greater awareness, think again. Celebrity chef John Burton Race says: “It is a fact that men are the best cooks, professional or not. Industrial kitchens may have heavy equipment, but men are the best cooks because they are more passionate and take cooking more seriously.” Are you fucking kidding me?!
One of my dearest friends is a chef who made her way through the Culinary Institute of America with only a few bumps and bruises. She dared to question. She dared to demand excellence from her instructors and was somewhat maligned for it. If she were a man, would her questions have been received the same way? Her talent, however, won out in the end and probably much to their chagrin, she graduated #1 in her class.
She and other women I know in the field are organizationally strong, punctual, and great team players in the kitchen. They have a feel, a touch, a natural love for food and they don’t show off. It’s not about technical ability; it’s not about “Look at me”.
The same disparity also exists outside the commercial kitchen. In dating, for example, a man can post just one photo, be overweight, not very handsome or articulate and meet someone fairly easily while women are held to a different standard. “What kind of workout do you do? How often do you workout? Do you have any full-length photos? . . . . .Do you have any MORE full-length photos? How recent are these photos?
I recently watched an ex who was of average attractiveness and a little thick in the middle get snapped up in less than a month in the swamp that is internet dating. Why do women have to be gorgeous, eternally youthful, have less than 9% body fat, funny, smart, financially independent and on and on while it seems men just have to be . . . . . . Breathing? It’s not so unusual to see a Shrek look alike dating some gorgeous creature, but think about it. How many times have you seen it the other way around? . . . . . . . . Keep thinking . . . . . . . . . . . I’ll wait . . . . . . . . . . . Crickets . . . . . . Exactly!
Why is it that women have to do everything backwards and in high heels and still run the risk of being rejected and thought of as not good enough?
Unfortunately, it just is what it is. Women are slowly getting the respect and the positions they so richly deserve in professional kitchens but there’s still a way to go. In the world of dating, I fear it’s going to be a few more centuries. It’s frustrating as hell to live in a world with such a flagrant double standard but my sisters, keep your chins up. You are beautiful. You are talented. You are a treasure. And you can cook, create and do any damn thing just as good as any man!