The heat is on
To say the heat is on for ‘brand name Chefs’ all over the USA is like saying we have an unpopular President. Awash with the recent wave of sexual harassment/ sexual abuse claims it’s only logical that a couple chef’s would fall victim to the storm. Still, I have been taken aback by numbers and the names. Food addict that I am, I have savored many eyefuls of John Besh and Tom Collochio and Michael Symon and.. you get the idea, over the years. Having worked in a few kitchens over the years I have also come to accept that sexual harassment in some form is almost derigueur in most kitchen environments. So I hope you will understand when I say I don’t see what all the fuss surrounding these chefs is all about. I mean the Food & Wine Magazine’s homepage currently boasts an article about sexual harassment.
It’s getting hot in here
A few days ago a friend messaged me a story about renowned Chef Mario Batalia stepping aside from his company amidst allegations of sexual misconduct. A couple weeks before, the same fate had befallen celebrated Louisiana culinarian John Besh. And Chef Johnny Iuzzini’s name has begun circulating. I expect there will be more names forthcoming. As I read the article, I found myself wondering, how many chefs will suffer the same fate before the tide turns?
Do chefs just watch their step? Am I suspect if I bump a coworker’s nether region while rotating 270° at 200 mph as sweat drips from my face? Or is it just the men that can be guilty of such lewd behaviors? I ask because of the chefs and other CEOs stepping down I haven’t seen any women on the list. What gives? Maybe I missed a newsflash? Either way don’t anyone sue me I have a – net worth + I’ve changed my ways.
If you can’t take the heat…
Lest anyone accuse me of setting women’s right’s back a few centuries. Let me begin by saying I unreservedly believe some of these women’s stories. What I do take issue with are women who think that a passing touch can’t be accidental or that being subjected to crass language is automatic harassment. Everything becomes hastened and amplified in the kitchen. We (cooks) forget our manners and say what we think instead of how we’re taught. So please give us a little leverage or stay in the dining room.
We didn’t start the fire
We have a proud ‘pussy grabbing’ President because secretly many of us crave a grab or 2. We’d simply rather choose who does the grabbing or suggestion of such. Men unfortunately seem to lack that particular sensor. A man thinks that if you go out of town with him repeatedly. And stay in the same hotel room you want to be there. Just look at the national mindset 13 months ago, during the 2016 election.
Ring the alarm
In 20+ years, a roll in the sack has never netted me a job, raise or promotion. I also discovered that saying no or simply ignoring unwelcomed advances usually deters most men. If saying no doesn’t work there are many legal options available. I don’t believe that any person should be subjected to sexual intimidation in any form. I do believe that we should do like the Lupita’s and Salma Hayek’s stand up for ourselves and move past it. If being a whistleblower is what it takes to kill the monster. I say go for it.
After the fire
In the time I have spent working in other people’s kitchens. I have come to learn, and appreciate the fact that thin-skinned people do not belong in the restaurant industry. And us women can be notoriously thin-skinned. Maybe it’s discriminatory for me to say so. But, it needs to be said. When I grab a hot pan accidentally and scream ‘FUCK ME’ (or any derivitive thereof) it’s the hot pan. Not because I think you’re a hot man. Just listen for the amplified sound of the pan hitting the stove or the floor. That’s happened before too. I can’t speak for any other chef but I know that a kitchen where I have to second guess my every move is a very cold uninspiring place . I don’t like the cold so, I hope this storm passes very soon.