Male Chefs Do Not Exist in a Void

Male Chefs Do Not Exist in a Void

They may dominate the kitchen, but it’s usually their moms who helped them get there in the first place.

Everywhere you look, there are male chefs—on commercials, television shows, cookware, cooking competitions, you name it. Most cooking competitions, and indeed most restaurants, feature male chefs. Why is this?

Ask just about any male chef where he was taught or what inspired him to become a chef in the first place and he’ll tell you it was his mom nine times out of ten. It’s one of the most common stories you hear from any male cook. In fact, many male chefs are making millions of dollars off their own mothers’ and grandmothers’ recipes. I wonder if they ever considered that their mothers and grandmothers could have just as easily been the top chefs instead?

Imagine if they’d been able to not have children somehow. Many lived in times when it was illegal to obtain birth control outside marriage, let alone an abortion. Of course I’m not implying that these women did not want their children; I have no way of knowing whether they did or not. But they certainly were not in the position to become famous chefs all over the world as their sons currently are.

These women did not become famous chefs not only because they likely lacked the opportunities that the fought so hard to obtain for their children; they also simply had to care for their children in the first place. Many worked and cared for their children at the same time, while still providing them with recipes and cooking techniques that would lead to multi-million dollar cooking careers.

I wonder if these moms are even thanked for all that they did for their children? I wonder if the recipes they so painstakingly created or preserved that are now cast so carelessly into $25.00 cookbooks featuring big grinning male faces were worth it. Do they wish that family secrets had stayed secret? Do they wish that they had opened up a family restaurant themselves and become famous chefs in their own rights rather than simply serving as fodder for their progeny?

As a mother, I can tell you that it would make me proud if that were my child, for sure, and I would help her succeed no matter the price. That said, I can’t help but think that it should be these moms and grandmothers with their rich histories and pasts and stories who should be revered on food channels and cooking shows and, yes, restaurants themselves rather than their sons.