This post originally appeared on March 31, 2018, in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.
Last week I wrote about how surprised I was that the upcoming mini season of Chef’s Table: Pastry wasn’t dominated by female chefs, as women comprise the majority of the pastry world. And I mused about the idea of a database of talent to help producers make better, more representative TV. The response was pretty incredible! TL;DR: I got a lot of women writing in support of the idea and a couple of men asking me to list all the female pastry chefs that have more compelling stories than Will Goldfarb. So, cool.
Some takeaways from all of your letters:
- First, and most importantly, I learned that author and speaker Julia Turshen is already building something similar, not just for surfacing talent but for connecting women and people of color to one another. So… I’m off the hook, maybe! Julia can do it, and I’ll do my best to share and promote her project when it’s live.
- One reader told me about 500 Women Scientists, a recently launched database in the scientific community where users can “request a woman scientist.” Love it.
- Another pointed out that a database would be useful not just for media companies and food shows, but also advertisers. This reader, who makes commercials, says a database would help her with casting.
- One reader pointed me to Parabere Forum, an international org with a database of 5,000 chefs, sommeliers, food producers, scientists, and anthropologists. Its founder Maria Canabal tells me that after five years, “we have sent chefs and food entrepreneurs to congresses, round tables, contests, foundations and universities all over the world.” Rock on.
- One chef said the idea of a database for producers “feels a bit like a ‘binder full of women.’ WHY don’t ‘they’ seek out new talent? How is that not exciting?” But she also recognized that, as a busy business owner and mother in a small town, she herself doesn’t know how she is supposed to get recognition from the right people in the industry.
- A reader in Berlin, who co-founded a group called the Feminist Food Club, is working on a similar list of female-identifying chefs and food business owners in that city. Here’s the Google doc they will eventually turn into a database.
- A reader in Melbourne created her own list of women-owned restaurants as a resource for local event organizers and festival curators.
- Multiple female producers and filmmakers shared the struggles they’ve had promoting female talent from within.
- Several women said they feel they have to work twice as hard to get recognized and want to focus more on self promotion. And some pointed to the oft-discussed systemic issues within the industry that keep women from the top in the first place (harassment, a lack of support for pregnant chefs and new mothers, and a media that’s overly focused on what’s “new” in a world where “men, more than women, position what they have to say using terms such as ‘new,’ ‘innovative,’ ‘cutting edge’ about something that has been done by other cultures for a while.”)
Thank you to everyone who took the time to write in. I’ll be sure to share Julia’s database when it’s up.
Opening of the week: Che Fico
Adding this one to my San Francisco agenda because a) it’s gorgeous; b) I’m wondering if above-ground-level dining rooms are becoming a bit of a *trend* in uber-expensive SF (see Mister Jiu’s and Eight Tables); c) handmade pasta; and d) I’m a huge fan of Angela Pinkerton’s desserts and am excited to see her pop up again.
- Intel: Fuku is expanding to Boston; the biggest Chick-fil-A ever opened in New York; Top Chef winner Mei Lin has a new LA restaurant in the works; the Texas Rangers debuted a polarizing pickle-stuffed corn dog; Red Lobster launched fried lobster and waffles, and Robert Sietsema called it “a waste of good crustacean”; a Time Out food hall is coming to Brooklyn; the cotton candy-wrapped ice cream trend made it to Houston; Portland chef Maya Lovelace is now crowdfunding her new restaurant Yonder; you can now order Prince’s Hot Chicken online; Keith McNally will close Cherche Midi in New York; Pittsburgh’s beloved Pizzeria Beddia served its last pizza ever this week; alleged harasser Mike Isabella is no longer eligible for a prominent D.C. restaurant award; Pixar’s new short film is about dumplings; Justin Timberlake had a lot of fun with Alinea’s sugar balloons; and while delivery-only concepts are kind of dying out in the States, they’re still going strong in London — and now AI and robots are in the mix.
- Reviews: MáLà Project in New York; The Alembic in SF.
- London’s new obsession with vegan food, explained.
- Can $26 ribs save Barnes & Noble?
- I created this obscenely stupid Instagram bait! No, I did!
Last week on the Upsell
Casey Johnston, the Future Editor at The Outline, stopped by the podcast to explain how a drink called Muscle Milk ended up all over America. And then Dave Asprey, founder and CEO of Bulletproof, explained everything he thinks is wrong with protein in 2018 and where protein will go next. Listen here.
- This week I learned Saints cheerleaders must leave the restaurant they are in if a player shows up [NYT]
- Just Caity Weaver all the time, please [GQ]
- What your take on an egg spoon says about you… and society [NYT]
- Gastrodiplomacy is real [Munchies]
- Kim Jong-un might kill me someday, but respect to his super slow, wine-filled train [NYT]
- All hail condensed milk [Taste]
- How Helen’s tweet about drying off her chicken spiraled out of control in ways even she couldn’t imagine [The Verge]
- Lol can we please stop calling female chefs “bad-ass bitches”? [What Now Atlanta]