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Master Chef Frances Atkins: It’s easy for women chefs to get sidetracked

  • IWB Post
  •  September 17, 2015


Frances Atkins is a renowned British master chef, and is currently visiting India to support the Creative Services Support Group (CSSG) empowerment initiative to mentor underprivileged girls.

In an interview with TOI, she talks about the male-dominated kitchens and their rituals. Below are the excerpts of the talk:

You ended a marriage where professional cooking wasn’t considered proper. How did that experience shape you?

It made me more determined. I’d done 10 years of family time. It wasn’t fair that I shouldn’t be able to work professionally. This desire to cook came from my soul ­ I had to do it. So, I did. Walking away with no money, I wasn’t intimidated. I worked for a small take-away. I did catering. When I got a little money, I rented my first restaurant ­ – my biggest joy. I shaped a new life. I learnt from my mistakes ­ – and i made many.

Why do women chefs experience discrimination?

Physically, it’s tough. I start work at 9.30am and work till 2 in the morning. But women are capable. You only need persistence. It’s easy for women chefs to get sidetracked, imagining fame just by making TV dishes.

Are you referring to glamorous kitchen goddesses?

Well, that imagery’s a temptation for women! But professional cooking is changing. You generally won’t have a problem with men­ if you give as good as you get.

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