July 2017 saw the première of the French documentary film “In search of female chefs” by Vérnae Frédiani. The director travelled thousands of miles to speak to some of the female chefs who devote themselves to gastronomy, some of them in large restaurants and schools and others in more humble establishments and even on street food stands, and also sommeliers, trying to find their way in this male-dominated professional.
Where are the women?
In the domestic world, cooking is primarily associated with the female gender. However, when it comes to haute cuisine, women lose visibility. To give you an idea of the low representation of female chefs, 98% of Michelin stars go to men and therefore only 2% to women. The documentary “In search of female chefs” wants to show that women chefs do exist and are just as valid as male chefs. Some of the chefs who appear in the film areElena Arzak, Amanda Cohen, Kamilla Seidler, Clare Smyth, Cristina Bowermann, Alice Waters, Jacotte Brazier, Anne Sophie Pic, Dominque Crenn, Adeline Grattard, Barbara Lynch, April Lily Partridge, Paz Levinson, Cristeta Comerford, Victoire Gouloubi and May Chow, amongst others. What’s interesting about this documentary is that in listening to the testimonies, both female and male, they reflect on the role of women, not just in the world of gastronomy but in all spheres of power.
A good conclusion this documentary reaches is seeing that, at the end of the day, women chefs seek exactly the same things as male chefs: to share their knowledge of cuisine, their passion for tradition and cutting edge techniques, their desire to make the world a better place through gastronomy and, of course, to enjoy giving guests a unique experience through food.