Where Are the Women in the Kitchen?

Categories: Review Debut
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Back in 2008, I started spending almost as much time in restaurant kitchens as in restaurant dining rooms. What struck me was how few women work the hot line. The reasons are apparent: The hours are insane. The pay is middling. The work is grueling. Cooking in a competitive, cutthroat environment has to be a place in which one is groomed to thrive. Plenty of men and women don't make the cut.

I later went on to write this article on how the restaurant workplace is becoming more hospitable for women, through such restaurateurs as Jamie Leeds of Hank's Oyster Bar, who hires employees with kids and encourages a work/life balance. Other chefs such as my former employer, Cathal Armstrong from Restaurant Eve, nurture the careers of women by acting as a mentor to people like Shannon Overmiller, who now helms sister restaurant the Majestic Cafe.

Here in South Florida, Dean Max of 3030 Ocean is one of those chefs who nurture the careers of women in fine dining, such as his work with Lauren DeShields and Paula DeSilva, of Fort Lauderdale's Market 17 and 1500 Degrees at Eden Roc, respectively.

Some women restaurateurs in South Florida make their own rules, similar to the chef I reported on in 2008. In Miami, that's the case at Hy-Vong, the 30-year-old, women-owned and -run kitchen in Little Havana. Read my Miami New Times article here as well as this week's review on Sunfish Grill on the status of women chefs and restaurateurs.


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