Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, who is the man behind London’s Dinner By Heston in Knightsbridge, has given his thoughts on the debate surrounding inequality in restaurant kitchens.
In a new interview with The Economic Times, the 53 year old chef spoke about why we don’t see as many female chefs represented at the top end of the restaurant industry. He believes that there are several factors which determine a person’s success in their field, but that a woman’s biological clock could hinder their chances. “I think it depends on a lot of factors, including the culture in the country,” he told the magazine. “I have always employed female chefs, but historically and ultimately, the body clock starts working. It’s evolution, and it is one thing to have a 9-5 job and quite another to be a chef with kids.”
Bizzarely, the chef also spoke of the physical difficulties women might face working in a restaurant kitchen, referring to “[The physical strain of lifting] Heavy pots and pans.” Despite this, Blumenthal went on to say that he has seen an improvement in recent years: “I think it is much better now that it was 15 years ago. This I can speak for.”
The dining room at The Fat Duck
Later in the interview, the chef – who also operates three Michelin-starred The Fat Duck in Bray – spoke about the different approach that women have to take in comparison to men when advancing in the restaurant industry. “Earlier, to be a successful female chef in a male-dominated environment, you had to be tough as old boots. You had to fight harder. I know a few female chefs who have done very well.”
“Quite frankly, men have asked for this; they’ve brought it on themselves. The shock of women standing up for themselves is strong and men get really insecure”.
If you'd rather celebrate female chefs, cast your vote in our AYALA Female Chef of the Year awards.