Marco Pierre White has claimed women are too ’emotional’ to become professional chefs. Which is, of course, a truly flabbergasting remark from a man known for his fiery temper.
Indeed, during the early years of his career, White was reportedly prone to booting patrons from his restaurant completely if he didn’t like what they had to say.
As someone who once famously reduced a young Gordon Ramsay to tears, White made his name as someone who regularly brings his white hot fury into the kitchen. He is, in short, someone you might describe as a bit emotional.
The 57-year-old chef, restaurateur and TV personality made these gobsmacking remarks during an interview with The Irish Independent, where he claimed men were simply better suited to handling the heat of life in the kitchen.
Speaking with female writer Niamh Horan, White let rip about his views on women chefs, with a series of daft comments I really wish we could all just send back to the kitchen for a full refund:
The real positive with men is that men can absorb pressure better, that’s the main difference, because they are not as emotional and they don’t take things personally.
Look at the size of some of the pans you are carrying. Can you imagine you’re a lady in the kitchen and saying: ‘Will you carry that pan for me?’ You don’t want to say that, do you? So men are physically stronger and they can absorb the pressure of the kitchen better.
For aspiring female chefs, it must be genuinely disheartening to see an icon who is idolised by so many in the field turn a skewer to their dreams and ambitions.
Fortunately, plenty of top names in the culinary world have called White out on his archaic views, showing there is support within the industry for tough, talented women in the kitchen.
Sally Abe, head chef at the Michelin-starred The Harwood Arms, told Big Hospitality:
For me it’s not about sex, it’s about people. It’s not about looking at someone with preconceptions of what they can and can’t do, it’s giving them a chance and letting them prove themselves.
That’s what I’ve always done, work hard and you will be successful, regardless of gender.
Asma Khan, founder of the London based Darjeeling Express, told Big Hospitality:
It is extremely unhelpful to have a prominent male chef like Marco Pierre White undermining the contribution and role of women in restaurant kitchens.
Even when he attempts to list the positives, he displays his staggering, almost medieval gender bias. And basically dismisses us neither as innovators or creators.
According to data from the Office of National Statistics, just 17 per cent of chef positions in the UK are held by women, meaning this is still very much a male dominated field.
Hopefully these stale remarks won’t put off budding female chefs from picking up a pan and bossing it in the kitchen.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.