Time Out has a thoughtful article about why the media gives short shrift to “lady chefs.” Only 10 percent of the country’s executive-level chef positions are held by women, due in part to a clubby atmosphere that, in the past, has caused cooks like Amanda Cohen to be passed over for promotions (Cohen now employs three female cooks at Dirt Candy). Donatella Arpaia posits that women often aren’t publicity hounds (though that hasn’t stopped Arpaia from being all over the pages of Grub Street), and they usually work at easily overlooked mom-and-pop joints rather than the Spotted Pigs or the Butters (those two, of course, being exceptions). And it’s true — we certainly haven’t heard much about the female cooks that Jean Adamson works with at Vinegar Hill House, for instance.
Let’s hope the tide will turn, just as it has begun to with female sommeliers — indeed it already has, as evidenced by a recent Better.tv segment introducing us to At Vermilion’s “strong, beautiful Indian” female chef, Maneet Chauhan. Then again, what the hell is Better.tv? It’s worth asking why Chef Chauhan hasn’t gotten the attention owner Rohini Dey has. Incidentally, though Dey’s looks are mentioned in nearly every article about her (she’s been called “beautiful as a Bollywood star,” among other things), the restaurant industry seems to be the one place where men are celebrated as sex symbols more than women are. We’re assuming female chefs qualified for Eater’s ridiculous “hottest chef” competition, and yet all 44 of the finalists were men. Not that we need or even want a “hottest female chef” competition!
Bitchin Confidential [TONY]