A few weeks ago I attended a 3 night discussion panel with some of the leading women working in food today at Divertimenti's Marylebone High Street store. All were a delight - funny, fresh, and informative. The speakers included newspaper journalists, cookbook authors, restaurant chefs and food startups, all in conversation with the Financial Times food journalist, Tim Hayward.
Tim led each discussion by reading from "The Rise of Egotarian Modern Cuisine" by Alan Richman in GQ, March, 2014, in which he says that there is a new and pervasive kind of cuisine, listing its characteristics as: obscure, often foraged ingredients, weird combinations , tiny portions, table side "narrative" from the server, tasting menus, simultaneously "intellectual ... yet often thoughtless" but, above all, it centres on the chef, "whose ideas, creativity and personality it's all about."
Richman's piece ends with "it's entirely male. I found no exceptions. Not once have I seen female chefs prepare such food."
In "Food for the Boys" in this weekend's Financial Times Magazine, Hayward describes the reaction of the women on the Divertimenti panels (and in the audience) as "Well, Yes! Obviously ..." followed by: "and are you remotely surprised?"
Leading his column with: " 'Egotarian' Modern cooking is all about the chef - and female food lovers are not impressed," Tim comments: "modern cuisine was supposed to be about shaking up the old rules. It's the defining pretension of the snake-hipped young chef that he is not bound by the old prejudices ... he is entirely the New Man and the Wonder of the Age - but he ignores a chasmic and growing gender divide."
At the end, Tim asks:: "surely the fact that half of food lovers greet modern cooking with a collective "so what?" is enough evidence that it's time to get in touch with our female side again."