Sexisim in Reverse in the Professional Kitchen

Joined Feb 13, 2013
Alright so this might be a touchy subject for some but lets keep it constructive please!

So I've noticed at a few places I've worked and from line cook friends that in some kitchens sexism against women has gone in reverse, to silently favoring female cooks and landing them promotions to positions they are not qualified for or have better talent available in male form. It's not a singular view, I've overheard and talked to male (and female!) cooks who have expressed the same opinion in some circumstances. I feel as though in more progressive kitchens where half of the kitchen staff is female there is no coincidence as to who is being favored in the hiring process when females do not comprise 50% of the work field. I've personally seen an owner say in front of all his staff that "I could hire a man to do the job but I trust a woman more". I've also heard a head chef promote a female cook (who struggled on her station none the less) to a shift manager because " a woman would add a different dimension to the management team". She lasted one week by the way. Aren't these blatant examples of sexism in reverse? I've worked in a kitchen where a female head chef had a female sous, female pastry chef and female A.M. sous but only male cooks. Couldn't favoritism be a factor here?

Please do not get me wrong, I am not anti-feminist nor do I not acknowledge the struggles female cooks endured years ago and to a lesser but still relevant extent today to break into this field do to sexism and simple male-domination of the field. I know it still happens today too where a not very experienced but motivated female cook wants to come on board and surprise, surprise, is put on pastry.

I know that this is just one factor in the gender, race, age whatever scheme of things. You can also make the case where Hispanic cooks are passed over by management for a promotion or where an older line cook's resume looks good enough to be hired on the spot but you know the executive chef is thinking "can this old guy keep up on the line?" and doesn't bother to let him stage. The reason I am asking about favoritism or sexism in reverse in regards to females specifically is because I was kinda shocked to overhear and talk to how many male (and a couple female line cooks) felt. It was almost a silent we can't talk about it but everyone knows what is going on here sort of vibe. Again, this was in my experience in 3 places where sexism seemed to work in reverse BUT I've also worked in a place where sexism was alive and well so I'm not saying it's happening everywhere because obviously it's not. I'm curious to see if anyone else has some blunt and thoughtful input.
Joined Jan 31, 2012
The problem with reverse sexism/discrimination/whathaveyou--it's essentially discrimination against the

majority--we all know it happens, but officially it doesn't exist.
Joined Oct 23, 2013
Women run the world.

If you are a man and NOT working for a woman, then are you really a man?
Joined Oct 11, 2014
That is such a great and relevant question to ask! It will be interesting to really hear others points of view on this.

I absolutely see and hear all the time exactly the things you are talking about. I was one of those female chefs having to put up with an ol' boy mentality in the kitchens for most of my career until I ventured out on my own. I have to say first off that as a female chef and owner I do not pull favourtism as I hated it in grade school and hate it now. I will go for the MOST QUALIFIED and that is it! You must have the attitude, aptitude and energy/passion to get in my kitchen. That being said......I have more males than females in a female dominated category of pastry. Funny just happened that way. I don't care about the plumbing you were born with, I only care that you can do the job and do it well.

Discrimination has been around since Christ was a cowboy and even before then. It will never cease to be until we quit looking at each other as male and female or different colours in the industry and just chefs. If we all have to go through schooling, tests and experience to get the same qualification then it should not matter what your sex/race or whatever to even enter the picture. It is all a matter of attitude towards the job at hand, aptitude/skills available to do the job at hand and experience to lend towards the job at hand. You could be bloody blue with pink polka-dots from another world for all I care as long as your qualifications for my kitchen fit the bill. (okay, lol, yeah that is extreme but you get the picture.....hehe)

As a woman, I really despise the stupid quota crap that people do to let their businesses look good to ignorant masses by hiring equally even men and women even if some of them do not qualify to be in that position. It irks me so much. I want to be seen by what I am capable of not because I look good in a skirt, I fill your bloody quota or to my being there because of my sex makes you look good. 

I have equal regard for men and women, black, white, red, yellow, blue with pink polka dots or otherwise. Hopefully we will see more of this in the future but......I try to be a realist as well /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif
Joined Dec 18, 2010
I got out of the professional kitchen a long time ago (when it was male dominated) and transitioned into engineering (when it, too, was male dominated).  There appears to be a remarkable similarity between the two professions.  In my engineering environment the preference is not stated, often denied, but indisputable.  We have both hiring goals (really quotas) and an enforced equal opportunity policy, and only the working folks see the disconnect in that situation.  We, too, only speak about it in private or in extremely hushed tones... otherwise it is likely that we would be referred to HR (which is completely dominated by a single gender) for "counseling".  Another reality... there's no winning.
Joined Apr 29, 2011
There's no such thing as reverse sexism or reverse racism........just sexism or racism.
Joined Jan 8, 2015
One of the co-owners of the place i'm leaving after next week is pretty clearly a misandrist imo. I was hired when she was out of the country. I was the only male cook for a significant portion of time. There are still more female cooks then male cooks. Not including myself, the longest employed male cook there has only been working 5 months, and he's looking for a new job, and i am the only male cook i know of that has worked there for longer then 6 months. A male cook is basically hired if we need an immediate replacement and she doesn't have time to look for the rarer female cook. There is clear favoritism towards the women in how she treats them; a male cook does something she'll explode at them, a female cook does same thing, she'll say oh, its not big deal. Not to mention, making the men do all the most physically demanding tasks.

That said, I don't think i would call hiring women for diversity's sake sexism. There is value to have a diverse work force in my opinion.
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Joined Apr 29, 2011
Meezenplaz...........that would mean that the courts are sexist and racist.
Joined Jan 31, 2012
No, it means its only recognized as illegal within...certain demagraphics.
It's like a check valve in your sink--water only flows one way, not the other.
Joined Apr 7, 2015
One of the things Ive tried VERY hard in my career is to not play the sex card. I want to pull my own weight and more or less....beat the men at their own game.

Personally I find it annoying when i see other women chefs playing the sex card.  If you cant carry it, put it on a dolly. Just becasue its a nasty job doesn't mean you get to not do it becasue you are a girl. I don't care of you have cramps or PMS... do the job and don't whine.

I have never worked anywhere were being a woman was an advantage in advancement or hiring. If anything being a woman has always been a disadvantage. Talent and ability has always been the bottom line in moving forward or being hired.

I am not sure if it is sexism or people hiring and moving up others they feel more comfortable working with. Here i see what you are talking about more base on sexual orientation then what sex you are.
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