Originally I was going to write a post about this year's Top Chef Canada, seeing as two very talented chefs from the East Coast are competing. More of a 'good luck to Jesse Vergen and Lauren Marshall' piece - both whom I have had the pleasure of working with, but then it happened.
What happened? How about a PR stunt gone so terribly wrong that I forgot about actually watching the show and spent the evening on Twitter reading about how horrendous the Top Chef advertising is. How about completely sexist? Completely vulgar? Shall I even use the word stupid? Ridiculous? How about just plain wrong. Who in their right mind came up with this?
Haven't seen the posters? Let me paint you a picture; men, standing looking manly with the caption "This kitchen is no place for a woman.". Oh boy. Then the ladies poster, with them all lined up looking sassy "Is that all you got boys?". I don't even know where to begin.
I'll begin with me. A 39 year old woman, and I've been cooking for twenty years. Yes, I have had my share of ass slaps, tweaks, tugs, pinches and rubs, but how I managed to get through without giving in? Easy. I respected myself, my work, and oddly enough, my co-workers too. I also have given my fair share of slaps and tickles to those who did them to me, and let me tell you, they did not appreciate it. At the end of the day, they knew not to mess with me. I also managed to cook circles around them, take pride in my work and give 110%. That folks is how you gain respect, and in this industry, every woman who can do this is just making it easier for us all and all the future female cooks.
I am also proud that after twenty years I am opening up my own little place, a simple sandwich shop. What makes me so proud? The fact that I have hired five of the most talented women I have ever met. Why? Is it because I am a woman? Nope. It is because they care about their work, are respectful, responsible, organized, patient and completely qualified.
So, these Top Chef Canada posters, how do they affect me? They're basically pushing us back thirty years and saying that we don't belong in kitchens. Hmm, funny how that in Europe, it's the Nonna in the kitchen in Italy, cooking up the amazing food and the Grandmère in France, feeding the family and passing down her secrets. It's women that make the culinary world go round. We may not be the toque wearing, Michelin starred, Food Network superstars, but we are the ones that feed our families, and we feed them with a love and passion that no man could ever understand.
Top Chef Canada, you may have gotten some social media buzz over this, but in the end, it just makes you look like asses. I am also going to let you in on a little secret, it has also been said a woman's place is in the kitchen, and guess what? They're right.