Are Male Chefs Richer than Female Chefs? – Power Dynamics in  Societal Expectations 

Adejoke Bakare got her Michelin Starred recognition for culinary skills at her restaurant – Chishuru. The first person to get to this level with 6 Michelin Stars was Eugénie Brazier- a woman. Media coverage was more for Alain Ducasse (a man) than Eugnénie Brazier. 

Just as Rags Martel reported, Adejoke is the first black woman to get this recognition in UK. Cooking, a role assigned to mostly women, is largely dominated by men; Office of National Statistics reports 18.5% of 250,000 chefs are women (about 46,000), meaning more men are head chefs (Michelin starred awards restaurant owners). Although kitchens are traditionally a space reserved for women, Srinivasan and Sinhal (2019) speak to the dominance of male chefs in the hospitality and culinary industry due to demand on long working hours – a criteria that has impacted women across careers, in political leadership and participation in decision making roles. 

The power dynamics that exists across structures has continued to dis-empower and de-center women even in “domesticated” roles such as tailoring or design, embroidery, makeup or hairstyling. Modern day reality have women competing with men in roles that are gender assigned by culture or tradition. 

Whichever way you analyse data produced by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), for unemployment and underemployment, there is consistent and rising gender imbalance in the labour force in Nigeria. More women are still marginalised in the labour force and employment. 

What can be the reasons for the continuing limitation of gender inequity? If the roles assigned to women such as cooking, is dominated by men, is there a need to re-think the pressure of roles expected from women (and men)?. Should the society stop being hypocritical and grant members of her community the agency to lead with talents they are born with and not skills the society expects? 

Adejoke Bakare enjoys cooking, she won a cooking competition and has since followed her dreams to cook leaving her Science background and now, a Michelin Starred Chef.  While many men before her has achieved this, women, who are either socialised to cook or skilled at cooking as a talent, are not yet Globally recognised for their skills. Nigerian Chef, Hilda Baci is the first female in Nigeria to win the Guinness Book of Records for the longest hours in cooking- yet, long hours is one of the criteria that limits women in attaining Head Chef positions and Michelin Star Recognitions. 

C-Suite and Board Members of Fashion and Beauty industries are run by more men than women meaning the clothes and shades of makeup we use is largely decided by men and less than women. 

While I have a personal interest and thoroughly enjoy cooking, fashion and beauty, these are for my use and not for career reasons. If I ever wanted to raise the bar and turn this to an industry, I will still be competing with those who were not domesticated to have these roles in the first place. I will most likely be judged and evaluated by those who where not pressurised to learn these skills either. 

Socialisation impacts the number of women in STEM, in Leadership, in C -Suites and social norms (like ours) may keep on ‘policing’ the positions women and men take and roles they occupy until a society re-thinks her growth strategy and labour force dynamics from a more inclusive lens

Añuli Aniebo 

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