Jessica in Bon Appetit. Bar Jules is one of the top ten new restaurants in America!

Take a look at this.

It got me all riled up because there are no women to be found on either of his lists. Huh? There's not one woman doing anything exciting anywhere in the Bay Area?

I've been thinking about women chefs a lot lately. The other day, a female/former CP cook friend who loves to be controversial started talking about how none of the dozen or so women cooks who've left the restaurant over the past five or six years have gone on to open restaurants. She pointed out all of the guys who've done so, or gone on to become chefs at other places (Brian, Troy, Chris, Charlie, Russ) and asked, how come investors are lining up to give these guys restaurants but not one woman has been able to get anything off the ground?

I said it's because women are too smart (and in general, not ego-driven or masochistic enough) to want their own restaurants. And a lot of these women have small children, which opens the door to a whole different conversation.

I don't give a hoot if I'm ever known or famous for my cooking! I just want to cook good, honest food, and make every single plate perfectly. I want to work in a kitchen with kind and respectful cooks who work as hard as I do. I want to work with the best ingredients available to me. I want a somewhat sustainable lifestyle. I want to stay true to the way things have been done for hundreds--and in some cases thousands--of years. These are things I will not compromise on.

And I think that a lot of women feel the same way about these desires. All of these goals pretty much clash head on with the goal of having your own restaurant or being an executive chef (not so sustainable), and certainly with the idea of being one of the cooks who's "embracing traditional and boundry pushing techniques--often on the same plate."

Does that mean chemicals and foam? Does that mean using plates that look like this? I'm not sure what boundaries he's referring to, but in my cooking I prefer to push the boundaries of taste. Cooks who know me know I try to take things to their farthest possible point to extract the deepest flavors from my cooking: salt, caramelization, acid, fat. I layer flavors, or elements of one flavor, in an attempt to bring out the very quintessence of an ingredient. Isn't that boundary-pushing, too? In this day and age, when everyone is looking for the next trend, the next big thing, I wonder if it isn't groundbreaking to stay true to tradition.

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