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By the Numbers: The James Beard Awards Finalists and Women

Percent women chefs represented in the total 2014 semifinalists and finalists lists.
Percent women chefs represented in the total 2014 semifinalists and finalists lists.
Charts: Paula Forbes / Eater.com

The James Beard Awards Finalists for 2014 were announced yesterday, and, as with the Semifinalists announcement, Eater took a long, hard look at the gender breakdown within the chef categories. There is very good news: Women chefs make up 28% of the 2014 Finalists. This is the highest percentage of women Finalists since 2009; the next highest was in 2012 when women made up 25% of Finalists.

And there's more good news where that came from.

In order to get an idea of how 2014's gender breakdown compares to previous years, Eater took an average of the percentage of women Finalists in each category from 2009 to 2013. From here on out, this number will be referred to as the 5-Year Average. 2014's data is not included in the 5-Year Average. (For more on how the JBFA gender breakdown has changed over time, see Eater's tracking of the 2014 Semifinalists stage.)

As you can see from the chart below, 2014 measures up against the 5-Year Average pretty spectacularly: the percentage of women Finalists is above average in every category except for three. A few categories, including Outstanding Pastry Chef, Best Chef: Northwest, and Best Chef: Southeast, have made significant improvements over the average.

Of course, there is still room for improvement. Of the three categories where 2014's gender breakdown is below the 5-Year Average, two of them (Best Chef: Great Lakes and Best Chef: Southwest) didn't manage to include any women chefs in the Finalists stage at all.

2014 Versus 5-Year Average, By Category

2014-by-category.jpg

Great Lakes and Southwest have no 2014 bar because no women were nominated in those categories this year.


It's also interesting to take a look at how many women move on from the Semifinalists stage to the Finalists stage. Below, a look at the total percentage of women chef Semifinalists and Finalists by year. As you can see, the percentage of women chef Finalists has been more or less rising over the past several years.

And since 2011, the percentage of women Finalists has been higher than the percentage of women Semifinalists. This means that in recent years, the chances for a woman Semifinalist moving on to the Finalists stage has been improving. Especially in 2014, when only 20% of the chef category Semifinalists were women, and yet 28% of Finalists are women.

Semifinalists and Finalists Breakdown by Year

seminfinalists-versus-finalists-per-year.jpg


And now a look at the 2014's gender breakdown by category. Of course, the percentage of women nominees went down (to zero) in a couple categories, but by and large improvements were made between the Semifinalists and Finalists stage. What will the winners look like? Stay tuned for the announcement in May, when, of course, there will be new numbers to crunch.

Outstanding Chef

outstanding-chef-2.jpg

2014 Semifinalists: 40% women (8 women, 12 men)
2014 Finalists: 33% women (2 women, 4 men)
Change Since Semifinalist Stage? Down 7%
Average Gender Breakdown of Finalists Since 2009: 22% women
2014 Gender Breakdown Versus 5-Year Average: Up 11%


Outstanding Pastry Chef

pastry-chef-2.jpg

2014 Semifinalists: 70% women (13 women, 1 women/men team, 6 men)
2014 Finalists: 80% women (4 women, 1 man)
Change Since Semifinalist Stage? Up 10%
Average Gender Breakdown of Finalists Since 2009: 60% women
2014 Gender Breakdown Versus 5-Year Average: Up 20%


Rising Star Chef

rising-star-2.jpg

2014 Semifinalists: 16% women (3 women, 1 women/men team, 21 men)
2014 Finalists: 40% women (2 women, 3 men)
Change Since Semifinalist Stage? Up 24%
Average Gender Breakdown of Finalists Since 2009: 35% women
2014 Gender Breakdown Versus 5-Year Average: Up 5%


Best Chef: Great Lakes

great-lakes-2.jpg

2014 Semifinalists: 20% (4 women, 16 men)
2014 Finalists: 0% women (0 women, 5 men)
Change Since Semifinalist Stage? Down 20%
Average Gender Breakdown of Finalists Since 2009: 20% women
2014 Gender Breakdown Versus 5-Year Average: Down 20%


Best Chef: Midatlantic

midatlantic-chart.jpg

2014 Semifinalists: 5% (1 woman, 19 men)
2014 Finalists: 20% women (1 woman, 4 men)
Change Since Semifinalist Stage? Up 15%
Average Gender Breakdown of Finalists Since 2009: 12% women
2014 Gender Breakdown Versus 5-Year Average: Up 8%


Best Chef: Midwest

mid-west-chart-2.jpg

2014 Semifinalists: 5% women (1 woman, 19 men)
2014 Finalists: 17% women (1 woman, 5 men)
Change Since Semifinalist Stage? Up 12%
Average Gender Breakdown of Finalists Since 2009: 4% women
2014 Gender Breakdown Versus 5-Year Average: Up 13%


Best Chef: Northeast

mid-west-chart-2.jpg

2014 Semifinalists: 5% (1 woman, 19 men)
2014 Finalists: 17% women (1 woman, 5 men)
Change Since Semifinalist Stage? Up 13%
Average Gender Breakdown of Finalists Since 2009: 16% women
2014 Gender Breakdown Versus 5-Year Average: Up 1%


Best Chef: Northwest

northwest-chart.jpg

2014 Semifinalists: 25% (3 women, 2 women/men teams, 15 men)
2014 Finalists: 60% women (3 women, 2 men)
Change Since Semifinalist Stage? Up 35%
Average Gender Breakdown of Finalists Since 2009: 40% women
2014 Gender Breakdown Versus 5-Year Average: Up 20%


Best Chef: NYC

nyc-chart.jpg

2014 Semifinalists: 20% (3 women, 1 women/men combo team, 16 men)
2014 Finalists: 20% (1 woman, 4 men)
Change Since Semifinalist Stage? No change
Average Gender Breakdown of Finalists Since 2009: 24% women
2014 Gender Breakdown Versus 5-Year Average: Down 4%


Best Chef: Pacific/West

pacific-chart-2.jpg

2014 Semifinalists: 10% (1 woman, 1 women/men combo team, 18 men)
2014 Finalists: 20% (0 women, 1 women/men combo team, 4 men)
Change Since Semifinalist Stage? Up 10%
Average Gender Breakdown of Finalists Since 2009: 4% women
2014 Gender Breakdown Versus 5-Year Average: Up 16%


Best Chef: South

best-chaf-south.jpg

2014 Semifinalists: 10% (1 woman, 1 women/men combo team, 18 men)
2014 Finalists: 20% women (1 woman, 4 men)
Change Since Semifinalist Stage? Up 10%
Average Gender Breakdown of Finalists Since 2009: 4% women
2014 Gender Breakdown Versus 5-Year Average: Up 16%


Best Chef: Southeast

se-chart-2.jpg

2014 Semifinalists: 15% (3 women, 17 men)
2014 Finalists: 33% (2 women, 4 men)
Change Since Semifinalist Stage? Up 25%
Average Gender Breakdown of Finalists Since 2009: 12% women
2014 Gender Breakdown Versus 5-Year Average: Up 38%


Best Chef: Southwest

sw-chart.jpg

2014 Semifinalists: 15% (3 women, 17 men)
2014 Finalists: 0% (0 women, 5 men)
Change Since Semifinalist Stage? Down 15%
Average Gender Breakdown of Finalists Since 2009: 20% women
2014 Gender Breakdown Versus 5-Year Average: Down 20%


NOTES: The Best Chef: Pacific and Best Chef: West categories have changed slightly over time and were lumped together for the purposes of this piece. All categories have five finalists, except in the case of a tie, in which case there are six.

Finalists that include more than one chef at a single restaurant were considered as follows: teams of men were considered one male finalist; teams of women were considered one female finalist, and team finalists that included male and female chefs were pulled out into a separate combined category.

Only categories that nominate chefs were included in order to make this coverage parallel to Eater's previous coverage of chef gender disparity.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013 women made up 20% of Chefs and Head Cooks in the US.

· Here Are the 2014 James Beard Awards Finalists [-E-]
· By the Numbers: The James Beard Awards Semifinalists and Women [-E-]

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