Masha Budrytė
January 2017.

Why are there so few female chefs?

1 answer

I myself, was a pastry chef from the age of 18-21 years old. I relocated and I now live in Hong Kong where I work with children. So I have since taken a break from the hospitality business. 

Through my personal experience, I think there are so many female chefs mainly because of the physical endurance of being a chef in general. For myself, I was thrown in at the deep end. I was in college one day a week and working in one of the top ten restaurants at the time. They later gained a Michelin star not long after I left. So being in such a high-profile kitchen took its toll. The hours were very unsociable. I was also running a section all alone, with the occasional help of other staff members. This was due to understaffing. A typical day would be me arriving at work between 7-8am and leaving at midnight, a little before or sometimes after. It was mentally, emotionally and physically tiring. I would not change my experience for the world, as I learnt so much, but it was very draining. I also think that, because there aren't so many female chefs, it can seem quite daunting to take the leap and follow your dream in a kitchen where males are dominant. Some staff members wouldn't treat you any differently, however, you are female, so at times it felt like you were being picked on and that you had to be as good as the men. 

I am lucky to have studied and attended a boarding school before becoming a chef. This prepared me for the behaviour and 'talk' that boys/men have with one another, especially in the kitchen. I gained a hard skin from school, so any 'banter' or sexual references in the kitchen, I took on the chin. Boys will be boys. 

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