Sorry female chefs of the world, if you hoped to one day work at Sukiyabashi Jiro, the Tokyo restaurant run by famed chef Jiro Ono, you're out of luck. And it's because you are a woman. Business Insider writer April Walloga was researching a story on the scarcity of female sushi chefs when she came across a "startling" quote from Yoshikazu Ono, the son of Jiro Ono, in a 2011 interview with the Wall Street Journal. Yoshikazu, who stars in the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi with his father, was asked why there were no female chefs or apprentices at the renowned restaurant. Yoshikazu said it came down to biology:
"The reason is because women menstruate. To be a professional means to have a steady taste in your food, but because of the menstrual cycle, women have an imbalance in their taste, and that's why women can't be sushi chefs."
Walloga theorizes that the quote was not picked up by other media outlets because the interview was given nearly a year before the documentary became popular in America. Still, the reasoning is sexist, archaic, and isn't what the already-difficult-for-women restaurant industry needs.
There is a very real lack of female presence in many kitchens, and women who do work in one often must face incredible amounts of harassment. The female presence is even lower in the sushi industry where there are a number of myths and tales — such as that women's hands are too small to warm the sushi — that are used to justify why it's a male-only job.