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The role of women in the male-dominated restaurant industry is a hotly debated topic. Do they like being labeled as female chefs? What are their struggles for equality? Are there less opportunities available for women who want to cook professionally?
These are just some of the questions tackled by culinary heavy weights Elizabeth Falkner, Carla Hall and Anita Lo in a recent interview with Potluck Video's Ali Rosen. It turns out each of these wildly successful chefs has a distinct point of view regarding the female chef label.
Falkner, a James Beard Award winner, believes striving to be "a great female chef" is the ultimate. "Everyone is always trying to cook like their mother or grandmother taught them how to cook. People have so much memory from that love and warmth which has typically come from a woman."
While Falkner may have a more positive spin on the topic, Lo, chef/owner of Annissa in New York, sees things differently. "So often journalists and the media want to focus on that part of you and it does set you apart. It’s a double-edged sword."
Hall, host of ABC's The Chew, approaches the topic by talking about cultural divides and how having a family changes things for women.
Falkner, who is also the president of the Women Chefs & Restaurants organization, says working in the kitchen really boils down to this: “It’s a hard job for anybody whether you are male or female. It challenging work and it requires a lot of time and stamina.”
Watch their engaging discussion below and tell us: do you think women need to be labeled as "female chefs"?
Hungry for more? Try Anita Lo's vegan salad recipe with heirloom tomatoes, yuba, shiso and ponzu.