It is seriously kind of amazing that this “lady chef” thing is still even up for debate. Our own Mariella Mosthof and Tina Nguyen went at it ad nauseam in April, back when Anthony Bourdain kicked off the lady chef debacle by Tweeting his own opinions. So it’s basically the same game, with different players.
But after Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy responded to TIME’s editor Howard Chua-Eoan, amid criticism that zero female chefs were included in his “Gods of Food” feature, we think Cohen is the kind of player we want on our team. In a response published on Eater, Cohen proves that she’s got a say in this argument — and that she’s basically better than all you fools will ever be. And also, that we want her to be our best friend. Seriously — can someone get this woman a crown already? A gold medal? A James Beard Award? Her own feature in TIME? A shot of tequila and round of karaoke? Let’s just give her ALL THE THINGS for her coherent, biting, and witty response.
Cohen’s take-down of Chua-Eoan is particularly informed, especially on the role of media in all of this (which Mariella and Tina also talked about in April.) Mainly, that editors don’t know shit.
One thing we all have to keep in mind when reading these pieces about “The Conjoined Triplets Linked at the Forehead of Food” [editor’s note: HA! We’d read that] is that Mr. Chua-Eoan can only include what he knows and, like most editors, he spends so much time typing that he can’t get out into the world like the rest of us and see what’s actually going on. Instead, he’s trapped in a bubble, going to the same parties again and again, seeing the same chefs over and over, fighting for gift bags at the same events as all the other food editors. It’s like a human centipede of journalism, and being in a human centipede doesn’t leave you a lot of time for anything else. …
Mr. Chua-Eoan can’t get out into restaurants like us normal people and meet chefs on his own. Those of us with a lot of leisure time can swan about the city and look in kitchens and see all the women working there, or we can use our free time to go to their restaurants and eat their food. But poor Mr. Chua-Eoan is not so lucky. He has to meet chefs at special events which, as we all know, have their own problems inviting women. It’s a human centipede out there and instead of criticizing we should all just count ourselves lucky our mouths aren’t stitched to some event organizer’s anus.
On top of it all, Cohen rattles off all the influential female chefs that have broken the glass ceiling of the boy’s club (we just wanted to see how many lady-centric stereotypes we could fit into one sentence): Dione Lucas, Madeleine Kamman, Josefina Velazquez de Leon , Julia Child, and White House executive chef, Cristeta Comerford. And no, this lady chef phenomenon is really not that new. Writes Cohen: “What Mr. Chua-Eoan really means when he says ‘relatively recent phenomenon’ is ‘since he started working on this issue’ and he really doesn’t have the time to spell that out for you.”
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Cohen, any time you want to talk about lady chef problems — scratch that, we’ll talk about anything you want — you’ve got our number.
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