So, what’s NOT on the menu?
Imagine if you can, that you are a female chef and you wear your button or your t-shirt with pride, the slogan saying #Notonthemenu.
The answer is simple, so simple that it stops people right in their tracks and will forever change their view of how they treat you.
That answer is me. I’m not on the menu! nor is my body, my gender, or my sexuality!
“Yeah, right. That’s cool” comes the reply. It will only happen once, when they finally get the idea that you ARE an equal, you are a colleague, and yes you are a chef.
The idea started in America, and comes from years of female oppression in kitchens, and a final realisation that there must and will be changes; 2021 will become the focus of a concerted campaign by Unichef, The National Chefs Union to finally rid our own kitchens of this vile and systemic abuse of our female colleagues.
#Notonthemenu looks at the history and the reverence of women in British Cookery, their contribution, and the exciting and often inspirational contributions that they have made and will continue to make in kitchens across our country.
Our aim is to educate all chefs into a new and fresh culture that accepts people as they are, as professionals doing a professional job, and to help everyone understand that our kitchens are NOT bastions of a male preserve but are in fact “our office” our place of work, where we should all feel safe, secure and protected and where our genders should never come into question.
“Our office” should be just like any other modern working environment, we should work by modern recognisable standards towards our colleagues.
Banter and fun, being the butt of sexual talk and jokes, hugging and “love in the kitchen” is all eighties tolerability that no longer belongs in the 21st Century.
As chefs we beg for the latest equipment, the best of facilities and stress to our bosses to get with it and use modern techniques, yet so many of our chefs are still in the last century when it comes to recognising the equality of women in kitchens and yet no one would ever treat their wives, girlfriends or mothers in that way.
We can’t only blame chefs either. Our industry is plagued with male dominated companies and a hugely male oriented media obsessed with the latest “Cool Chef” when there has not been any since Gary Rhodes. And yet TV cooking shows are STILL dominated by men! Is it any wonder then that our young chefs still grow up believing that men are the better chefs, if only through numbers?
The time for change is now, the time to look at how we really treat women in our kitchens and ask ourselves “can we do better”? Can we bring respect and equality back into our kitchen, not only for their sake but for ours too, as treating all people with respect makes us all better chefs.