MIA: Women Chefs in New York Post

A New York Post Food Feature headline on February 7 read: "'Taste Duds' Top city chefs divulge the foods that make their stomach churn."

In response, here is my Letter to New York Post:

The headline should read "Taste Studs."

All seven "top city chefs" featured were male.

Food for thought: Please consider including top female chefs for future stories.
Thank you.

Beverly Wettenstein

The article was written by a female reporter. May I suggest that female reporters and editors, who are the direct beneficiaries of the lawsuits filed by journalists at the major newspapers and magazines in the 1970's, read The Girls in the Balcony by Nan Robertson of the New York Times? Her book reported the courageous crusades for gender equality in newsrooms and media coverage in New York and across America.

It's disconcerting to continually read articles omitting women. Barriers to advancement persist in the professional kitchen and media coverage. The chances of a woman making Food & Wine Magazine's annual 10 "Best New Chefs" list are slimmer than the models on the runways at New York Fashion Week. Pretty slim. In 2009, Naomi Pomeroy was the female Lone Ranger on the list. See my documented data in earlier "Food For Thought" story.

Women represent only 18% of executive chefs and 6% of sous chefs.* Hence, I am making it my mission to showcase women chefs at events, to raise their profiles in the media and public awareness and professional recognition.

Memo To Sponsors And Event Planners: Hire Women Chefs And Waitresses

Likewise, it's distressing to attend major events sponsored by corporations and organizations, especially women's associations, honoring women of achievement, yet catered by male chefs. Inevitably, attendees and event planners do not see this hiding-in-plain-sight discrepancy until I bring it to their attention. Women chefs should be integrated into advance event planning and contracts, particularly for events advocating women's accomplishments.

Waitresses are also missing from the catered event picture. Wait service positions at banquet events are the best paid for hotel and restaurant workers. This is another example of well-meaning sponsors applauding women leaders, yet not hiring women support staff. Having worked in the hospitality industry, I may be more sensitive to these issues. For years i have urged groups to request waitresses at contract signing. Next time you attend an event in a hotel or restaurant, join me in counting the female servers.

Recently I attended an elegant party for a prominent author's book on women's progress. All the wait staff were male. Nobody noticed until I mentioned that this would have been an inspiring opportunity for waitresses to hear the author and meet the successful women guests. A caterer told me that some clients think an all-male wait staff looks more professional.

Two Events Honor Women Leaders And Women Chefs In March In NYC

Herewith I salute two women's organizations for recognizing women leaders and women chefs in March in New York City.

The Women's Project 25th anniversary Women of Achievement Awards dinner and benefit concert on March 8, International Women's Day, will feature women chefs: Lee Anne Wong, of 24 Prince and Top Chef; Nikki Cascone, of 24 Prince and Top Chef; Alexandra Guarnaschelli, of Iron Chef America; Anne Kim, of Jo's; and Shana Pacifico, of Back Forty. Laurie Anderson, Joan Osborne and Suzanne Vega will be honored. The Women's Project Theater productions are created by women playwrights and directors.

The Women's Campaign Forum 30th Anniversary Dinner Parties on March 11 will honor women political candidates. Private dinner party chefs include Zarela Martinez, Zarela; Sue Torres, Suenos; Mary Cleaver, The Cleaver Company; Payal Sharma, Pranna; and Norma Jean Darden, Spoonbread. Women restaurateurs participating include Joy Pierson, Candle 79; Leah Abraham, Settepani; Paula Sorrentino, Il Gattopardo; and Liz Neumark, Great Performances.

Who Are The Top Women Chefs in NYC And US?

Please join me in seeking just desserts for women chefs.
I welcome your Comments here on the top women chefs in NYC and US for future reference.

Bon appetit!

* StarChefs.com data

"Celebrate Women Every Day!"

March is Women's History Month

March 1

1864 Rebecca Lee, 33, became the first African American woman to earn MD in US.
She practiced nursing for eight years before entering New England Female Medical
College in 1860. The college was the first medical school for women in the world,
founded in Boston, in 1848.

1912 Isabella Goodwin was appointed the first female detective in the NYC Police

1973 Robyn Smith, 29, became the first female jockey to win major stakes race in US,
at Aqueduct.

Source: Beverly Wettenstein's "Women in History & Making History Today - 365-Days-A-Year Database"

Beverly Wettenstein speaks nationally on "A Woman's Place in the 21st Century"

See Beverly Wettenstein's PBS "To The Contrary" interview on youtube.com.

See Beverly Wettenstein's Letters in New York Daily News, September 4, 2009 and New York Times, July 21, 2009.