‘Macho culture' is off-putting for female chefs, says new report

07 March 2016 by
‘Macho culture' is off-putting for female chefs, says new report

Female chefs are still under-represented in top kitchens, and earn on average £4,000 less per year compared with male chefs, according to a new report today.

The industry's long and inflexible hours, along with a "macho" culture, have been blamed, said the London-based recruitment firm the Change Group, who saw 1,525 chefs register for work last year, of which just 217 were women (14.2%).

Similarly, a survey from the agency found that 44% of female chefs worked in kitchens where they were the only woman, a third said that being a woman had had "a negative impact" on their career, and just 1.5% had at least 10 female colleagues.

Female chefs also said that they were given more menial tasks to complete, and were less likely to be promoted compared with their male counterparts, and said that higher pay and more flexible hours would help the situation.

The results come soon after the Office for National Statistics revealed in February that just 18.5% of chefs in the UK are female, with the number of female chefs having declined by 2,000 in 2015 versus 2014.

The Caterer in September last year that she would "hope to see a few more women in it. To all the ladies out there - please apply".

At one point, Gidda was the only woman out of 120 entrants in the prestigious contest.

However, Angela Hartnett - who has three female head chefs working at her restaurants as is a fierce proponent of female chefs, including Pip Lacey, has also recently spoken on the subject, quoted in the Evening Standard as saying that statistics "shouldn't put off aspiring female chefs". She added that she has "many female chefs working at my restaurants… and of course there is no difference in salary between the sexes at the same level here".

Other operators within hospitality have also sought to address the imbalance recently, with Corbin & King having launched an initiative last year to encourage more women back into the kitchen, with the company holding a forum event to understand the challenges facing female chefs, especially those with children.

Female chef numbers declining according to latest research >>

Corbin & King to encourage chef mums back to work >>

Minute on the clock: Sabrina Gidda >>

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