Nadia Arumugam’s book “WOMEN CHEFS OF NEW YORK” hits the nail on the head with something that COOKGIRL hears again and again: Please stop asking women chefs what it’s like to be a “woman in the professional kitchen.”
As Nadia mentions in the introduction to her beautiful book about her favorite chefs in New York, she apologetically asked the 35 women she interviewed about their journey. These are, as she points out, “successful entrepreneurs, razor-sharp businesswomen; and above all, these are chefs at the top of their game.”
Being a chef is a tough business, regardless of gender. And women abhor citing sexism, playing victim or being labeled whiny. But in an industry with a distinct gender bias where kitchens and ownership have historically been male-dominated, there is no one we’ve met in the last year that doesn’t want to change the industry for the better and provide opportunities for the next wave of talent. It would be a step in the right direction if everyone could stop apologizing for girl power initiatives or thinking that supporting women and their businesses promotes the gender inequality we hope to balance.
Key to COOKGIRL’S MISSION is to address another factor brilliantly addressed by Nadia, which is the question of money: “The complaint of a 'boys’ club,' buttressed by investors who pass up noteworthy women chefs in favor of financing restaurants where men run the kitchens” was a recurring theme in conversations with women have already enjoyed tremendous career success.
The number one obstacle for a female entrepreneur in ANY industry is access to capital. The COOKGIRL FOUNDATION is structured to connect talent to much-needed capital.
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