By Adam M Lamb, Foodable Industry Expert
While Anthony Bourdain has gone on record arguing for the rightness, the necessity of hazing in his book “Kitchen Confidential,” the crueler and harshest antics used in some kitchens no longer have a place in modern culinary professionalism. We need to attract more prospective employees, not scare them off into other industries because of the established Culinary Bro Code. There are already enough reasons to choose from to do something else for a living.
Women have not had an easy time integrating into the hyper-masculine world of the professional culinary kitchen. Ask any woman working in the business today and she’ll relate as many horror stories as you have time, or the stomach, to listen to about coming up in our current culinary career culture. A recent Thrillist article recounted such tales, such as one from an anonymous sous chef who remembered a chef who grabbed girls by their hair buns and yanked their heads back, and who attached a carrot at the end of her station and called her “The Little Donkey.”
Along with this type of abuse is the disturbing fact that still, in 2016, along with unequal professional recognition, women are paid less than men for similar work. According to Glassdoor, female chefs make 28.3 percent less in base pay than their male colleagues. That's the second-highest "adjusted" percentage among the careers included in the study.
I learned early, the value of female co-workers. In my very first Executive Chef position, I was paired up with a woman as my sous chef. Lori Walker was an amazing assistant for me and helped me get my feet under me as a first-time chef. Thanks mostly to her partnership, I wouldn’t have lasted a month.
She, and many other women that I have had the pleasure to work with, have been the hardest working culinarians on staff — coming in on their days off, even when sick, and they were the hardest-working people in the room, primarily because they had to be. They could not be seen as weak, needy, or quick to tire. The “bros” in the room were waiting in the wings, ready to shame them right out of their whites. The Culinary Bro Code demanded it of them, or they would quickly be, outside looking in. Such was the price many of these women paid.
One might argue that as bad as all this may sound, it has improved, and one might be right. Just not fast enough, by this writer’s estimationRead More