By Hannah Sparks October 10, 2018
Giada De Laurentiis, Rachael Ray and Alex Guarnaschelli Getty Images; FilmMagic
If you can’t stand the heat, take a stand in the kitchen.
So say the women behind “Supper Is Served,” Thursday’s talk and tasting event at the New York City Wine and Food Festival. Hosted by #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke, it features high-powered chefs such as Giada De Laurentiis, Alex Guarnaschelli, Katie Lee and Rachael Ray, who are fighting for more female representation in a male-dominated industry.
Or, as vegan chef and author Chloe Coscarelli calls it, the “boys club.”
“I almost never feel like I ‘fit in’ with typical chef or restaurateur culture,” Coscarelli tells The Post. “Women have to work twice as hard to earn respect.”
Alex Baker, executive chef at the Tribeca bistro Yves, says her female colleagues do that, and then some. “Honestly, every woman I come across is doing her part to change the game,” she says. She credits Dominique Crenn, the Michelin-starred French chef, for asking why San Pellegrino, in 2016, awarded her the title of World’s Best Female Chef: Why not, simply, Best Chef?
A series of sexual-harassment scandals in high-profile kitchens — Mario Batali’s among them — has galvanized many women to speak out about the politics of power, and to demand a place at the table.
“Women have never, ever in history been so vocal and honest, and so well-heard,” says Kristen Tomlan, founder and CEO of Do, New York’s cookie-dough empire. She says Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi and Samantha Wasser of Nolita eatery Dez are among the trendsetting foodies who are making New York “an especially special place to be right now.”
One big issue women chefs are grappling with is finding a balance between work and family in an industry that typically demands long hours.
“For those who want to start a family, it can be challenging to pursue a career as a chef,” says Eden Grinshpan, chef and partner in Dez and mother to baby daughter Ayv. “I think it’s important for there to be a work-life balance for both men and women chefs.”
Some see an improvement already. “Ten years ago, the only women I saw working in the kitchens were at the pastry station,” Coscarelli says. “But this is changing. Women are now taking over the industry.”