1. Women are still underrepresented in kitchens.
2. Even the women who are in kitchens are underrepresented in media coverage, accolades, and awards.
3. “The person who lasted” is a terrible metric for skill and ability.
4. We need to be talking about better communication, stronger communities, more sustainable structures for our kitchens, more diversity, etc…and women are a part of that.
6. It STILL matters.
I have had the privilege of working in a few restaurants that are an example of how we can work together and treat all genders and nationalities as equal. To look for the cook who can perform. At how organized their station is and how clean their apron is, not what’s underneath it.
It is important to learn how to address mistakes, encourage improvement, and provide opportunities for growth in a way that benefits the whole team- regardless of gender.
I’ve worked with managers and leaders who give me a real sense of hope for how we communicate and encourage each other. Because of them I know there is progress. Because of their success, I can clearly see why any other environment that doesn’t live up to those standards has no excuses to hide behind, and a lot of room to grow.
“This is just how it is in a high stakes kitchen” simply will not cut it for me going forward.
The industry as a whole has a long way to go in order for these exceptional experiences to become the norm. I believe that we can achieve that.
I believe that we can continue to push ourselves even further. To achieve a work environment where we can be challenged and grow and even thrive.
We need to continue to have uncomfortable conversations. To keep talking about “Women in Kitchens”. To hazard the awkwardness and talk about what we can do to make our place of work better for everyone involved. To then take the ideas generated from those conversations and implement them, so that eventually these conversations will be about our history, rather than the dream of our future.
It still matters.