Here Are The Great Women Chefs!
This post is part of Blog for International Women’s Day put on by Gender Across Borders. A list of all the participants is available here: International Women’s Day Bloggers Directory
Apparently the world has lost track of its great women chefs. At least, that is my interpretation of the incessant stream of articles with titles like Missing: Great Women Chefs in New York, Where have all the women chefs gone? and oh so many similar articles.
Lots of people are helping in the search for the missing female chefs, too. Seattle Tall Poppy is looking for them. Regina Schrambling found some toiling away in kitchens of ethnic restaurants. Gastronomista finds some of the elusive creatures at the Bocuse d’Or competition in Where the Great Women Chefs Are,
In Why Are There No Great Women Chefs?, whose name echoes Linda Nochlin’s "Why Are There No Great Women Artists?" Charlotte Druckman examines not just the search, but the question itself. You really should grab the PDF of that article and give it a read next time you put your feet up for a few minutes.
While searching for the women chefs, one often hears that women do pastry, while men do savory, and there does seem to be some truth to this. It is also true that pastry chefs seem to get much less fame and fortune than savory chefs, but is this related to the higher proportion of women in the sweet kitchen? Maybe. Then again, maybe not.
It doesn't help that, when a talented pastry chef works for a talented (and better known) Chef/owner/name, the pastry work is often attributed to the (male) Chef/owner/name. Those Momofuku compost cookies that are making the rounds, for example, were created by Christina Tosi. Adding her name to a Google search for the cookies, however ,drops the number of results from just under 400k to less than 20k, The name, Compost Cookie has even been trademarked, by David Chang with nary a mention of the woman who created it. Poof! Another great woman chef erased.
Where are the great women chefs? Apparently being left off the government documents regarding their work. (note to self: rant about the erasure of women's contributions by official government documents...)
Well, all of you adventurers in search of the great women chefs, here are a few. A very few for now. This list is a living thing, though. I'll be adding to the links of the women listed here - slowly, this link searching is a tedious thing and I am looking for quality links - and there will be more parts to this list in the future.For now, part one of great women chefs:
- Lidia Bastianich
- April Bloomfield
- Julia Child
- Lynn Crawford
- Cindy Duby
- MFK Fisher, with the question of, "does she count since she's both dead & not officially a chef?" (What do you think?)
- Beverly Gannon
- Suzanne Goin
- Gabrielle Hamilton
- Maria Hines
- Traci Des Jardin
- Loretta Keller
- Heidi Krahling
- Anita Lo
- Sara Moulton
- Lisa Nakamura @lisaknakamura is currently Chef de Cuisine at The Herbfarm.
- Nancy Oakes
- Cindy Pawlcyn
- Melissa Perello
- Judy Rodgers
- Becky Selengut @chefreinvented is one of those renaissance women I truly admire. Her resume includes the Herbfarm, personal chef
- Natalie Sellers atthe 4th St Bistro.
- Patricia Unterman
- Gwen Ashley Walters ~ @chefgwen
- Alice Waters got several nods, even though she is, as one person noted, "more muse than true on-the-line chef."
- Rachel Yang from Joule Restaurant was mentioned multiple times.
- Finally, for this installment, not a female chef, but the organization for them, Les Dames D 'Escoffier