What you see to your left is the current international edition of Time magazine. Hats off to David Chang, René Redzepi, and Alex Atala for being honored. But if René, Dave, and Alex are the Zeus, Ares, and Hermes atop some sort of culinary Mount Olympus, who are the Helen, Hera, and Aphrodite? Well, as people noticed almost immediately, the Time package fails to include female chefs in its coverage of the food world’s most influential people.
The issue (and the cover, of course) inevitably focus on the dude triumvirate of Chang, Redzepi, and Atala, and their contributions to the MAD food symposium. Per Time, “in their combined iconoclastic approach to fine dining, they have transformed the image of the chef from distant aesthete to in-your-face dude.” How Time managed to write that sentence, but failed to coin the word symbrosium is a mystery.
Anyway, it’s the scope of Time’s coverage that makes the larger exclusion of female chefs even more noticeable: There are stories about Dan “King of Kale” Barber, Albert Adrià, and Michael Pollan. Additionally, in a Time 100 chart posted today that tracks “a few major lineages of the minds melding over the food you dine out on,” it seems not a single woman is mentioned among the nearly 60 male chefs that are listed.
People calling Time out for this are justified, of course. Yes, there are a lot of young guys running world-class restaurants right now, and they tend to dominate media coverage. Simply adding a woman for the sake of diversity might not make sense. But women such as Elena Arzak, Anne Sophie-Pic, Dominique Crenn, and Suzanne Goin are just four very obvious examples — it literally required half a second to think of their names — of chefs who are not only making a tremendous difference in the way we eat, but who also haven’t been written about nearly as exhaustively as Chang and Redzepi.