It’s no surprise that the ratio of men to women in the kitchen can become pretty steep. Recent reports and articles online suggest that the gap is beginning to slowly - but surely - close, and yet entering a kitchen today will still show a staggering majority of men to women. That’s why, on International Women’s Day, many industries take the time to express the needs and appreciation of their female workers, and this should definitely include the culinary industry.
There are now more and more movements cropping up that are giving women a better fighting chance. The Castell Project, a non-profit company in the States, launched its Ladder Up campaign to help raise money toward better gender diversity of the hospitality industry. There are even organizations in Canada helping women become more visible as culinary leaders, such as Women in Food Management. While big, influential companies like these might have a great impact on gender equality in the food industry, the best way to help the much-needed diversity is the support these women in the field.
As the temperatures begin to (hopefully) rise, consider giving a female-led restaurant a taste. Here are just a few of the many ladies living their dreams in the culinary scene:
Mali Fernandez of Xola Restaurant (Toronto)
Natali Harea of Nat’s Bread Company (Ottawa)
Chantana “Top” Srisomphan of Khao San Road, Nana, and Little Khao (Toronto)
Betty Heydon of Blackfriars (London)
Dalal and Rawa’a of Karam Kitchen (Hamilton)
Vanessa and Isabelle of The Rolling Pin (Toronto)
Seeing visible change in a specific environment can take time, but every change requires action. It’s not easy to create gender equality in the food industry if we aren’t going out of our way a bit to eat at a female-led restaurant every once in a while. Each deliberate decision we make to support and reach out to the women we want to see more will mark one more step toward that change. Happy International Women’s Day!