Heston Blumenthal: female chefs had to "fight harder" to be successful

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Heston Blumenthal: female chefs had to "fight harder" to be successful

Related tags: Chefs, Heston blumenthal, Michelin

Heston Blumenthal has spoken out about the representation of female chefs at the top level of the restaurant industry.

Blumenthal, whose Bray restaurant The Fat Duck holds three Michelin stars, told India’s Economic Times​ that success depends on "a lot of factors", but that it was more difficult for women to juggle having children with long hours in the kitchen.

“I have always employed female chefs, but historically and ultimately, the body clock starts working,” said Blumenthal. “It’s evolution, and it is one thing to have a 9-5 job and quite another to be a chef with kids.”

He added that women could also struggle with “heavy pots and pans”. Chef Marco Pierre White made similar claims in August and was criticised by several high-profile figures​ in the industry for an ‘unhelpful’ and ‘medieval gender bias’.

Blumenthal said that the industry was a “much better” place for female chefs compared to 15 years ago and that men had brought backlash on themselves.

“Earlier, to be a successful female chef in a male-dominated environment, you had to be tough as old boots. You had to fight harder. I know a few female chefs who have done very well.

“Quite frankly, men [chefs] have asked for this; they’ve brought it on themselves. The shock of women standing up for themselves is strong and men get really insecure.”

Yesterday’s Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2020 new star announcements were dominated by male chefs, though Anne-Sophie Pic’s La Dame de Pic in London picked up a second star.

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