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It’s Still Not Easy Being Gay In a Professional Kitchen

Yigit Pura
Yigit Pura Photo: Facebook

The latest issue of The Advocate talks to a group of LGBT celebrity chefs — all of whom have appeared on a Bravo show or two — about homophobia and the general male chauvinism in professional kitchens, particularly at the high end. Top Chef: Just Desserts winner Yigit Pura says when he was starting out in New York, in the kitchen at Daniel, for instance, he didn’t come out right away because all the chefs around him “were French and definitely very aggressive,” and he wanted them “to see my perseverance and my work ethic and my talent first.” Chicago-based chef Art Smith says he was regularly bullied in his early days in a restaurant kitchen, which led him “to take refuge in a chocolate shop” nearby.

Susan Feniger, meanwhile, focuses on her being female as having been the biggest challenge coming up in kitchens, saying that her male counterparts were probably often paid more than her despite having less experience. And at this point in her career, she says “you see a lot more men out there funded for [restaurant] expansion and growth than you do women.”

And Elizabeth Falkner, who recently relocated from San Francisco to New York to open Krescendo, says she wasn’t ever really discriminated against for being a lesbian, but she is pigeonholed as just a pastry chef. “I am a pastry chef, but I’m also a chef.”

Queers in the Kitchen [The Advocate]
Earlier: Preeti Mistry Talks Sexism, and Homophobia, in Professional Kitchens

It’s Still Not Easy Being Gay In a Professional Kitchen