5@5 - Chef Anita Lo
September 15th, 2010
05:00 PM ET
Share this on:

5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Back in the early days of 5@5, chef Anita Lo extolled the unglorified finds of the farmers market. Now, she's back talking the rare breed that is the woman chef.

In case you need a refresher course, Lo is the executive chef and owner of annisa restaurant in New York City. As one of the most esteemed female chefs in the United States, she's been named one of Food & Wine magazine's "Best New Chefs in America" and competed on the first season of "Top Chef Masters," where she finished fourth.

Five Things to Know About Being a Female Chef in a Male-Dominated Profession: Anita Lo

1. "Gender is a social construction. Men and women are raised to think and act differently through parenting, ubiquitous media images, language and general peer culture. It is important to question and debunk these myths that all of us carry. Some people think that women cook for love and men cook for glory, but to be successful, at least here in New York, you need to do a little of both."

2. "To make it in this business you have to be extraordinarily passionate and tenacious. You will spend long hours on your feet in a hot, uncomfortable environment for meager wages at odd hours. Cooking is a lifestyle choice for the obsessive-compulsive."

3. "You must be prepared to answer a million of these types of questions. As one of a very small minority, you do get asked about this a lot. And of course, I am a big supporter of women in business - our wine list at Annisa celebrates women in wine and is made up of wines mostly by female vintners."

4. "The ratio of gay-to-straight executive female chefs is much higher than amongst the general population. The Kinsey Report states that about 10 percent of the general population is gay. I think that ratio is higher among female executive chefs and apparently, in the WNBA as well. But on a more serious note, this is perhaps related to my first statement and begs the question: are gay women less bound by societal norms and therefore get further in this field?"

5. "Find a support system outside of the kitchen. Women Chefs and Restaurateurs is a national organization that supports women in cooking through education and networking. This is perhaps the beginning of the 'old girls' club.'"

Are women getting the appropriate recognition in the professional kitchen? If not, why do you think that is? Do you actively support women chefs? Let us know what you think.

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

Posted by:
Filed under: 5@5 • Think

soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Nomad

    That's a girl?

    September 17, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  2. Omitted

    People who think there is no difference in being male or female in the culinary industry are ignorant or have clearly never worked in a restaurant. While the quality of food depends on the chef (male or female doesn't matter), the way woman are treated is completely different. It is a male dominated industry, in each kitchen it is a nothing short of pissing contest between the boys. It is a contest to see who can say the most vile, vulgar thing, when a guy talks this way he gets instant access to the boys club of that kitchen, as soon as a girl says something she is seeing as flirting. Why would you want to gain access to this "boy's club?" Simple, the higher you climb in it the closer you get to the executive chef, the closer you are to him the better chance or a raise or a promotion. You're not going to get that raise or promotion if you are a female, trying to act like a boy. It sounds ridiculous, but kitchens usually aren't filled with classically trained, clean, groomed people of society. Most are covered in tattoos, alcoholics and deviants. As one chef wrote in his book "kitchens are filled with people who cannot fit in in the normalcy of todays society." Seeing a chef in the kitchen just based on their pure talents alone is often overlooked by who drank the most with the chef the night before while talking about women in a discriminating manner. When women are usually outnumbered 10 to 1 in a kitchen by boys who are constantly discriminating women, it's hard for her to prove herself and get ahead. A woman has to work ten times as hard as anyone else, just to get noticed, and then has to work even harder to get ahead. As someone who has been in the industry for over a decade, as a female I have worked in many different kitchens. Some on the highest tier, some on the lowest, it doesn't matter how refined the diner, AAA or James Beard may think the restaurant is, the kitchen is usually a hard place for women to fit in, let alone rise to the top.

    September 17, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  3. Todd

    I support restaraunts! If I like the food, atmosphere and service I return. If not I go elsewhere. I don't really care if the chef is male or female.

    September 17, 2010 at 11:19 am |
  4. jen

    am a female surgeon!
    heard all kinds of biased comments/judgements.
    but women should push on and ignore those ignorant people

    September 17, 2010 at 10:45 am |
    • Asian Yellow

      Like a surgeon.....cuttin' for the very first time.....like a surgeoOoOon.......

      September 17, 2010 at 10:49 am |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        whoops! forgot to change my name back.

        September 17, 2010 at 10:50 am |
  5. pmknez

    I am a straight, married, female chef who has been in the hospitality business for 20 years. I have worked for/with both men and women, but my experiences couldn't be more different than what's being reported here. While the men have always treated me as an equal with the utmost respect, some of the women have been insufferable. It's as if they entered this profession with a chip on their shoulder, anticipating prejudice because of their gender. Whether this bias is real or imagined, it is my opinion that you either have what it takes to be a successful chef, or you don't. Simple as that.

    September 16, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  6. Adam

    Gender is an issue because of irresponsible reporting like this that forces these insignificant issues like this into the spotlight.

    As many have pointed out – a chef is a chef, if they know their trade – who cares about gender?

    September 16, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  7. kei

    This comment is not a response to the article, but more of a response to the comments from women that call out their gender-deprived fields.

    I have worked mostly in male-dominated fields (Information Technology and Software Engineering) and for awhile, I was the only female Software Engineering student at my university. My conclusion? Nowadays, most people do not care. Sure, you occasionally get the 'genius' who thinks that you are an idiot because of your gender and occasionally you get the coworkers that are just a little too excited to have a female work with them, but for the most part, it really is no big deal anymore. Just do your job and do it well.

    September 16, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  8. AshleyW

    I'm in favor of good food. I don't care who makes it. I think men and women can be equally driven, tenacious, creative, and passionate (or obsessive-compulsive as Lo states).
    I would love to see 5@5 do a hot-seat interview with Matt McCallister, the chef at Stephen Pyles restaurant in Dallas. He's an extremely talented young chef, and definitely someone to look out for!!

    September 16, 2010 at 9:11 am |
  9. Travis

    It should be noted that women have been harmed at a significantly far less rate than men, by this recession. While there are numerous factors that contribute to that, the point is that women don't have it nearly half as bad as they make it out to be. In addition, women make up approximately 57% of college undergraduates, but just over 50% of the general population. Where is the outcry to engage the young men, and get them to pursue higher education at a greater rate. If you argue that men just aren't as interested in college as women, I would have to point out that the same argument can be made about any male dominated field; that women just aren't as interested in working in that field. Perception has become reality. If you tell yourself you have it so bad, you will eventually believe it, even if you live like a king.

    September 16, 2010 at 12:16 am |
    • Travis

      or queen.

      September 16, 2010 at 12:17 am |
  10. MyHDLis55

    RE: (1) and (4)...it's funny but I read "gender is a social construction" and thought "you have to be pretty liberal on the sexual orientation front to say that" and sure enough by (4) we see the question, "are gay women less bound by societal norms and therefore get further in this field?"

    Now I'm not sure I believe this is the answer, but the question begs it: No, it's not about gay women being less bound by social norms. It's about gay women being more masculine (e.g., assertive, determined, career-focused, etc.). Maybe that's not right, but it sure feels like an obvious answer.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
    • Travis

      It is certainly a valid rationale. A lesser degree of femininity helps when confronted with many of the repulsive tasks that a cook, or chef has to encounter.

      September 16, 2010 at 12:20 am |
  11. get_real

    Nobody mentioned IT. This field has it's share of pricks too. Try telling a male customer he has to pull output from his equipment for a diagnosis of the issue and he fights you, throws a tantrum cause of course "he knows better" . Then when you finally give up and transfer to back line support a male agent gets on the line and asks for the exact information, tells him the exact things you just told him 3x, suddenly he decides to cooperate. What's funny is there are so many times the male customer's call in for truly simple issues but won't RTFM. IT folks know that acronym. I actually had a guy ask me to read outloud to him the readme notes for a firmware update. It was 26 pages long.
    Do you want a bedtime cookie with that too??? Ok done venting all, have a good night.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
    • andynyc

      I think you will find that the same thing happens if you are a male. Sometimes no matter who you and what you have done someone would prefer to speak to someone else to hear the same crap you just told them.

      September 15, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
  12. Seriously?

    Good thing nobody's defensive or indignant on this thread, huh?

    September 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
    • AmyJ

      Wow, no crap! It's like, it can't just be an interesting article. :?

      September 20, 2010 at 12:31 am |
  13. Mer362

    CNN Thank you so much for these articles! People like me in the industry really love it. JWU students are using it for class now, your even helping out class work!

    September 15, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  14. maoyue

    WOMEN chefs? Gimme a break. There are over 3000 of them in this country and there are 32 women neurosurgeons. Try that one for a male dominated job. That I am going to do.

    September 15, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
  15. Joe

    I'm a nurse. Have been for 17 years. I hear the "male nurse" thing all the time. I'm 6'4" and 220lbs. I think it's kind of obvious I'm a guy. Generally I am the only man on shift. It's good work, I love it. Pays great, recession proof. You can make anything out of gender you want. Or, you can just go to work and do your job to the best of your ability and you will be respected and appreciated. . I don't have much to say about the recent fashion articles in Cosmo my co-workers might be talking about, but I can save your life. So can they. We're a team and the %&# hits the fan in the trauma ICU I work at, I could care less what gender my team members are. All we care about are the outcomes.

    September 15, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
    • Sporkatus

      thank you.

      September 15, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  16. Bob

    How in the world did this thread turn into a custody dispute when it started with a woman getting started in the restaurant business? In the begining of theatre women were played by men, chefs were men, women only cooked for families, I really want to know what being gay has to do with being a female chef? Girls dont get tteated like boys in familes? That is true then and now for some but not all, Just because you are gay u are more demanding, outgoing, more perfectionistic, than someone thats not? EVERY trade or proffesion has dues to pay, just like getting hazed in school, cetain proffessions, or the military. you have to PROVE that you are good enough and that you want it. Women have traditionally had a tougher row to hoe in that aspect but if they really want it they will make it happen, just like anyone else. Everyone has dues to pay in their chosen field, not everyone is a winner, nor is everyone going to succeedin everything they do, the restuarant business is a very brutal world especially in very large cities, you have to earn respect in order to get it

    September 15, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
  17. A Dad in Missouri

    Poor Women! They want it all. Career, children and all your assets when they exit a marriage. Most of all they want your sympathy. Equality has happened, get over it.

    All one needs to do is look at how one sided divorce and custody litigation is to conclude we are way past equality!

    September 15, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
    • Jackie Smith

      Yet another bitter little boy who failed as a husband. Stop taking out your personal failures out on the world. You're the problem.

      Equality has not happened. And no one is asking for your sympathy. We're asking you to stop being an assholish pig. And all men need to hear that message.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
      • 4ringdriver

        Don't assume he failed as a husband Ms. Smith. How do you know he was the problem? Maybe his ex-wife was the problem. The person who makes the most money, man or woman, gets shafted. As for your name calling, you really need to check yourself. If you didn't like what he said, fine. No need to resort to the "little boy" or "assholish pig" remarks.

        September 15, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
      • Travis

        Women like you are why men get divorced in the first place. He made valid points, but instead of countering them with a logical argument you went straight for the insults. Insults based on assumptions no less. And then you called out the whole male gender for no reason, and provided no justification. For the most part he is correct in his assertion that we have achieved equality. There are significantly more women in college than men. Women have fared far better in the recession than men. And best of all, as a woman, you don't have to take the blame for anything because you will just blame a man for your mistakes.

        September 16, 2010 at 12:30 am |
      • Observer

        Jackia – Bitter much?
        So tell us, just how much younger was the woman your hubby left you for?

        September 16, 2010 at 10:17 am |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        Yeah. Sounds pretty angry about something.

        September 16, 2010 at 10:21 am |
      • Shatteredmen

        "Yet another bitter little boy"

        This is what men face every day if they dare speak out on issues but women can bash men and get away with it. If a man compliments some women, he can face harassment charges, If he does not, well he is wrong on that too. Many women want to get into male dominated fields as well they should be able to...on their own merits without the need to lower standards for them to do so but why is it that these same demanding women do not want men in their fields? One as only to look at the number of women only colleges (many of which do get tax payer support) vs. men only colleges. Or better yet, look at the number of scholarships available to women only vs. that which men can get.

        Someone mentioned the gender admissions of colleges and stated that if they went by test scores, there would be even more women in college and fewer men. Well has it occurred to you that schools are boy unfriendly? If a boy is acting, well like a boy, they want to dope him up to settle him down.

        You also said: "Equality has not happened" Well from the sounds of your condescending reply to this man you do not want equality, you want superiority. I work with abused men and believe me, there are more male victims of domestic violence than there are women. A CDC study showed that when only one party is doing the hitting, 71% of the time, it is the woman but ALL of the federal resources for domestic violence goes only to women. Feminist have demanded and they have gotten mandatory arrest policies which are costing at least 600 MORE lives a year because being arrested for something you did NOT do can really tick some people off and make them angry. False accusations of abuse cost billions a year and the Violence Against Women Act makes it rewarding to make them.

        Now MS Smith, I suppose I am another bitter little boy because I have pointed out the other side to your little condescending reply to a man who dared express his side of things but I have one more newsflash for you. If we do not look at both sides and stop this battle of the sexes and realize men and women are intended to complement each other BOTH sides will suffer greatly.

        September 17, 2010 at 2:33 am |
  18. Glen

    How being male in a female dominated industry, nursing, teaching, hairstylist. i could go on and on

    September 15, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
    • Robert Kegan

      Male nurses in trauma units are frequently combat medics / navy corpsmen who have done multiple tours in Iraq / Afghanistan. There's a story. These guys can seriously kick your a*s!! Can't imagine anyone having the cojones to make fun of one of them.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  19. Tripp

    So when are we going to start seeing articles about the men that want to work in the knitting field, or how difficult it is on their fragile emotions to wear a dress in public? Come on, women, get over it. In today's world it's easier for you to get into schools, you get paid the same or more and you can dress up like a dude and no one cares. We get laughed at when we want to be nurses or secretaries, but yelled at when we want to be doctors or lawyers. What's the deal?

    September 15, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
    • ArthurBach

      Are you involved in academics at all? If the universities went by test scores and grades alone, there would be far more females than males enrolled in schools. Boys do worse in these areas. The admissions offices actually have to make it a point to keep it fairly even.

      Oh, details.

      September 15, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
  20. Woody

    I thought cooking was originally the traditional role of women...

    September 15, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  21. Maria

    Try being a female mechanic. One time I had a guy absolutely refused to let me drive his truck in the bay, and wanted a guy to do it since he never had a woman drive his vehicle. I told him if I didn't let me do it, he can take his truck elsewhere. After much deliberation about it, he finally agreed. After I pulled his truck in, I got out and told him that his truck wasn't a virgin anymore. It felt great for me to put him in his place, and belive me, I know all about the battle of the sexes and even though people say women are as equals, which we are, there is still some shmuck out there who thinks he is better than women.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • Robert kegan

      This is possibly the dumbest "Story of Triumph" that I've ever heard...

      September 15, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
      • Jacob

        I thought it was pretty funny myself.

        September 15, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
      • Irv

        It is funny, good for you Maria.

        September 16, 2010 at 7:53 am |
      • AmyJ

        Yeah, Robert, it IS dumb – dumb that a guy would be that freakin' prissy over his auto!

        September 20, 2010 at 12:26 am |
  22. Jacob

    If gender is a social construction, someone needs to explain to me why me and my girlfriend look so different when we take our clothes off.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • Shannan

      I think you're conflating gender (cultural) and biological sex, two very different things.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
      • Jacob

        Do you truly believe that there are no intrinsic differences between the way men and women think? My comment was a humorous way to point out that people who don't like to admit that not everybody is the same often try to convince you that they are. Men and women are different, neither is better, they're just different.

        September 15, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
  23. jocey

    We should be as supportive of women in male-dominated fields as we are of men in female-dominated fields. Maybe we care more about the male-dominated fields because traditionally they have been higher-paid, more glamorous positions. (Yes, institutionalized sexism was the norm for a VERY long time.)
    But we should also be supportive of anyone in any field, and we should make sure we keep as many doors open as possible so that EVERY child, regardless of gender, color, sexual orientation, whatever, can find their true passion in life if they seek it and work hard for it.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • Dan

      Yeah, let's give everyone a trophy. Even the losers.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  24. mejazzbo

    Where are the stories of being male in a female dominated profession?

    September 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
    • Jacob

      There aren't very many professions that are female dominated, and men rarely want to be part of those that are.

      September 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
      • MELBEL

        PREACH Jacob :) PREACH!!!! LOL

        September 15, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
      • Dan

        Nursing is female-dominated. 95% of all nurses are female. This is conclusive evidence of sexual bias against men.

        September 15, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
      • Mr. D

        Teaching is a major female dominated field, everyone trusts women with their kids because "a woman would never do anything to my child". I'll leave it there because that's a whole other can of worms...HEY CNN! Do an article about that would you?

        September 16, 2010 at 12:17 am |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        I work at a bank. I look around and see mostly boobies. I like it. Women these days look around and see oppression.

        September 16, 2010 at 9:59 am |
      • Truth

        I used to teach middle school. I was the only guy in the place, which made it difficult to talk football. I also found my peers were pretty protective of me in a big-sister sort of way. Made it hard on my girlfriends.

        September 16, 2010 at 10:14 am |
      • JoebobPT

        I'm a physical therapist (which is definitely a female dominated profession–but this is slowly changing). Truth be told, I don't believe my job is more difficult because I'm a male. In all honesty, I feel that in some ways it is easier because I stand out and it makes me more noticeable. Considering that I think I do a pretty good job, being more noticeable is a positive thing and I feel that it has afforded me opportunities that I wouldn't have had I just blended-in. Ultimately, I think you have to work with what you have and make the best of all so-called advantages and/or disadvantages.

        Just my $.02

        September 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • RichardHead

      Sorry sir.This is a food blog not a xxx site.

      September 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • Joey

      What about a single dad raising a child in a female dominate area. That is something of merit.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        I was raised by a single Dad. A story on that is like a story on a woman in a male dominated field of work. Circumstances does not create "special-ness".

        September 16, 2010 at 10:02 am |
    • GwT

      I'm a male in a field that's 90% female. I work in public education. And, prior to that, I was a professional Chef for 20 years. Professional cooking really is rough and tumble, and many shows, Kitchen Nightmares in particular, really do show the reality of inflated egos, high stakes, high stress and the all-consuming need to uphold and defend a reputation as a matter of survival. In my years of cooking, I've seen many women rise to the top, it's not as uncommon as this article would purport it to be. However, working in public education, the egos are just as large, the stakes are just as high and the rewards are much, MUCH greater. But, who are more glorified in this society? It's certainly not teachers.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
      • girlene

        Unfortunately, you see less males in the teaching profession b/c they all want to "move up" into adminstration. There they get to boss people around and do "important stuff." Not deal with petty things like teaching children.

        September 15, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
    • RJ

      Teaching is one of those "female dominated fields". It doesn't bother me as much when I began but the more years I teach the less men I see teaching outside of the coaches. Its sad because male teachers can add so much to helping a child. But, then again, teachers aren't considered anybody noteworthy anyway because of our pay. So, I understand both sides, honestly because my wife works in a "male dominated field" (veterinarian) too. Equality has not arrived.

      September 15, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
    • CBruss

      Ballet Dancers... no joke.

      September 20, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  25. Teresa

    I am a professional chef and also a part time model. When I tell people I am a chef their jaws drop, it is hard to believe for them. I am straight but just because of my job that is sometimes questioned by others. I have adjusted to working with mostly men, but I continue to be tested on a daily basis. My love of cooking and drive to succeed help me to pass the trials a female chef must face. It is certainly not easy to be a female in this industry and beauty will not generally help you in a kitchen, it can actully make life harder. It is certainly inspiring to see female chefs like Anita Lo that rise above and beyond adversity to have great success and I will continue to fight for my spot amongst them.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
    • Shasta

      I am also a female chef, and I definitely relate. I am on the petite side– I look like I could barely lift a half-sheet pan at first glance– and I guess you could say I look pretty girly (long hair, etc.). But being feminine does NOT help you in the kitchen– you're expected to work twice as hard as men just to prove you aren't weak or prissy. I currently work with an older female chef who is also very feminine and says she's had male chefs make her lift boxes in front of the whole (mostly male) kitchen til she tired out just so they could see they were stronger than her.

      A lot of people commenting seem to think it isn't that difficult to be a woman in a male-dominated profession, but they don't realize that in the kitchen, there's no HR department and no one to make sure labor laws are followed. Things that absolutely wouldn't be tolerated in a law firm or a financial company (like the box lifting incident) happen in kitchens all the time because no one sees it.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:48 pm |
      • Travis

        Well, lifting boxes is part of the job. Just because she perceived that instance to have that meaning does not make it so. It is likely that the boss wanted to make sure that she is physically capable of doing what is required of everyone else. I worked in the industry for many years putting myself through school; front and back of the house. Most women don't want to do what is required to work in the back of the house. The job is pretty nasty at points, and difficult, and dealing with the serving staff is usually aggravating, and there is not much glamor in it, and it doesn't pay well. That is why there is a significant prevalence of lesbians chefs- they tend to be less feminine, and more willing to do that type of work. Also, the whole premises that women have to work harder to just to prove that they can keep up is not exactly accurate. The truth is, that women have to work harder TO keep up in that industry. It can be a physical job, and men and women are physically different. In my experience, every time something of significant weight needs to be lifted, it is a male who does it. Nearly every shift I worked I had to stop what I was doing to lift something for a woman who couldn't. What extra work did she have to do? Do she go wait on my tables, or do my side work? Did she pull the ribs out of the smoker? No, she continued with her responsibilities. So the truth is, the man has to work harder because of the woman's physical limitations. And the chef's premise, that gender roles are created solely through social constructs is way off base. Genetics also play a role. Men and women have different strengths and weaknesses. They should be embraced, it would help us live more efficiently, and more purposefully.

        September 16, 2010 at 12:01 am |
      • Shasta

        It's not like everyone was restocking the kitchen, though, and she just couldn't hack it. The chef held what was essentially a competition that went well beyond every day back-of-house tasks simply to point out that she would lose. They had to lift until they couldn't anymore. Of course she would lose– she's 5 feet tall and about 100 lbs going up against men twice her size. It doesn't mean she's less capable of doing her actual job though, and it DOES mean he was trying to humiliate her because she's a woman.

        An accounting firm would never have a fast-math competition to show that the men were smarter than the women, and if they did, HR would handle it. There's no one in a kitchen to do this, though, and as a woman that can often mean you are humiliated, harassed, and treated in ways that in any other industry would be unacceptable.

        September 16, 2010 at 10:59 am |
      • Omitted

        Thank you, I have often found that being smaller and having blonde hair leads to more sexual harassment than anything else, I think guys like to prove how "macho" they are in front of girls. If I can lift 25 lbs and walk through the kitchen I always get comments of , "Girl, that's too heavy for you let me get it." or " Whoa, you aren't trying out for Miss Universe"

        September 17, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
    • Shasta

      Just to add–I can't even imagine being a model in this industry, especially if you're in savory. I'm a pastry chef and it's hard enough if you're even averagely feminine looking, even with the higher (although still very low) percentage of women.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
    • sabs

      I'm a chef, having worked in several kitchens with both men and women.
      I would say that it's not about a chef being a man or a woman. It's about a chef being able to work the line, hold their own in prep. To be able to do the job. If you're new, the rest of the kitchen razzes you pretty equally until you prove you're not a pastry puff. People who shut up when it's important, and give as good as they get during the quiet times get respect. People who complain, or can't actually do their jobs... get razzed into hopefully leaving.

      September 16, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  26. Ashley

    I am a female Naval officer. You want to talk about a woman in a male dominated profession? Don't write about a chef. This just makes me laugh.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
    • Jacob

      Allow me to paraphrase what you just said: "Nobody else's life matters unless I think its as hard as my life. Also, only I get to make that determination."

      Basically, you're proof that men don't have a monopoly on stupidity.

      September 15, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
    • ArthurBach

      You're right. They shouldn't talk about chefs in the food section.

      September 15, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
    • Laura

      I'm a woman mechanical engineer. It's 90% male in my field, and sometimes I'm frustrated when my male colleagues conduct business down at the strip club. Jacob is right – you, Madam Officer, do not hold a monopoly on challenges in the good-old-boy system.

      September 15, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
    • Former Petty Officer Turned Chef


      I too was in the navy and now I spend my days in the kitchen. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. I don't know what your NEC is, but it can't be that serious. Get over yourself...

      September 15, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
      • CBruss

        Um, moron, pull your head out of the oven, A NAVAL OFFICER does not have an NEC... they have "designators." NEC stads for Naval ENLISTED classification.. See the fundemental problem? Wow, did you pay attention at all when you were in the Navy?

        September 20, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
    • Bij

      Well good for you. Want a cookie? I'm a USMA grad and a female Army officer but I am certainly NOT going to follow your lead and belittle women who are holding their own in other male dominated career fields. Do your job instead of looking for recognition that you are "special." I know way too many female officers like you and frankly it makes the rest of us look bad.

      September 15, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
      • CBruss

        I agree, it is women who want to be accepted among the ranks of the men but still want to be seen as different and unique and special. Not just among the ranks of the officers but this is the fundemental breakdown of esprit de corps in the navy altogether. You can be enlisted but if you are a chief you are special. If you are an officer, cool, but if you are an aviator, you're special. I'm so glad I had the chance to serve but I see now that not just women, but humans in general have a desire to want to separate themselves from the pack. Good in the liberal arts. Not good in the Dept. of Defense. So, to my Female Officer friend, Ma'am, don't hate the player, hate the game. you volunteered.

        September 20, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • Olya

      Female Software Engineer here. Ashley, get over yourself.

      September 15, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
    • LOL

      @ Jacob & Arthur – HILARIOUS. Reading the replies to this post is almost as great as reading Anita's interview.

      September 16, 2010 at 7:51 am |
    • AmyJ

      Clearly, you have no idea of the history of being a chef. I'm not going to deny that you know all too well how it is to be a female in a male-dominated profession, but if you think the military is The One and Only Place like that, think again, sister, because you have another thing coming!

      Too bad you can't just support a fellow female.

      September 20, 2010 at 12:20 am |
  27. Nikki

    You guys ought to talk to Shuna Fish Lydon... she's got quite a resume (French Laundry, Bouchon, Mesa Grill, 10 Downing Street, in addition to others), and is in the process of opening a restaurant. You can find her blog at eggbeater.typepad.com – you might think you're putting her on the hot seat, but chances are, she'll turn the tables. :D

    September 15, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      I lovelovelove her blog and have always meant to reach out. Thanks for reminding me!

      September 15, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  28. Denizen Kate

    I'm all for women becomming whatever they want. As for male-dominate work groups: I'm surrounded by aerospace engineers. It's 90% male here. I look forward to a time when it just doesn't matter.

    September 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • Loren

      It doesn't matter.

      September 15, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
    • Galapagos

      I also am a female in a male dominated industry....finance. I have been in the indursty for 20 years now and women have to work so much harder to obtain credability. I have a passion for what I do and am happy when I help someone reach their goal and provide excellent financial advise for them. It is disappointing that in year 2010 it is much harder for women to obtain clients in this field. Honestly, I have more formal education in the financial arena then the men I work with but that does not seem to matter to most prospects. I have been with 3 different broker/dealers in the last 20 years and still only 10% of top producers are women. As a result, I ALWAYS support women and will be going to Anita Lo's resturant and especially having wine from women wine makers. In fact there is one here in CA. called She Wine.....If there were a female car dealer sales person I will make sure I give her my business. I am happy to do this and feel confindent that I will get better products and services.

      September 19, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  29. Jdizzle McHammerpants

    I actively support chefs. Not women chefs, not male chefs; chefs. To aim at one particular sex is to avoid the other.

    September 15, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
    • Timmy&Lassie

      We like Chef Boyardee!

      September 15, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
      • Irv

        LOL! Yes we do! Too funny.

        September 16, 2010 at 7:48 am |
    • cindy

      I am a female commercial construction professional with many accreditations. 25 years on the jobsite, big projects. I prefer the management style of males vs females, less emotional. We've made a lot of progress, yet, it only takes one lost truck driver who walks in the trailer door, sees me (female) and asks me to send a fax or make a Xerox copy, etc. I'm immediately perceived as the clerical help by the unsuspecting. It comes with the territory. No one can take away my personal satisfaction or the respect of my peers or the pure joy of delivering a solid building project. I've got the secret password, I'm authorized personnel, and I can answer the hard questions. A big thank you to all my supporting managers over the years.

      September 15, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
      • methius

        Wow, and yet you find the courage to get out of bed every day. You are an inspiration to us all!

        September 17, 2010 at 12:10 am |
| Part of