According to KitchenAid, women-identifying chefs have long struggled to rise to the top. Faced with bias, sexism and harassment, women find themselves adapting to a work environment that inherently makes assumptions on their abilities and worth.
Common biases in the culinary industry include beliefs such as, “a chef isn’t a worthy career for a woman,” “women can’t be creative in the kitchen,” “women aren’t as good as men in the kitchen and belong in front of house positions,” “women are home cooks and don’t belong in fine dining.”
KitchenAid brand presents A Woman’s Place, a documentary short, now streaming on Hulu. The film raises awareness of the harsh inequalities women in the culinary profession face and is an initiative to empower and elevate them to the top of the industry.
In partnership with Vox Creative, Digitas and Ventureland, the 30-minute documentary, directed by Academy Award Winner Rayka Zehtabchi, provides a provocative and honest look at the biases and barriers women face in the culinary industry through the stories of three inspiring chefs who are pushing for change.
The film reveals a concerning statistic from a 2013 study by the Office of U.S. Labor statistics that despite women accounting for 50% of culinary school graduates, they hold only 7% of executive chef roles in the United States. A Woman’s Place was created with the goal to support and empower emerging women in culinary to bridge the gap as they strive to become leaders in the industry.
The documentary follows three chefs who have carved a path for themselves in a male-dominated industry, working against biases in the hopes of making their culinary dreams a reality.
- Marielle Fabie, who grew up always lending a hand in the kitchen — whether it was helping her single mother cook for the family or helping her dad run his food truck — yet faced a double standard from her family, refusing to see cooking as anything but a hobby when she showed interest in culinary school. The disadvantages Marielle experienced as a woman of color have only fueled her ambition; she works tirelessly to be the best at what she does. Today, her success has finally proven to her parents that cooking is a viable and sustainable career for women.
- Etana Diaz, who began her career as a pastry chef and a line cook in fine dining, but found her true love for butchery after discovering that pastry wasn’t her passion. Etana proves that her dedication and drive outweigh her size and gender. She approaches meat cutting with creativity, ethics and knowledge and is proud to be a “Lady Butcher.”
- Karyn Tomlinson, who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in France, and on her first day on the job was told to go to the front of house for service. While her interest was in savory cuisine, she began working her way up through opportunities in pastry where she grew creatively. None of it discouraged her from pursuing her dream of becoming a head chef, and eventually she found herself at the helm of a kitchen. In 2018 she became the first solo woman to win Grand Cochon, a national whole hog cook-off. Today, she faces new challenges as she embarks on the complex process of opening Myriel, her first restaurant, during a pandemic.
Watch the trailer below:
ALSO READ: Watch brand new ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ trailer
“Over the last century, women, despite their incredible contributions, have struggled to make it in professional kitchens — held back by inequalities unfairly put upon them,” said Rob Sundy, Head of Brand Marketing & Creative Studios at Whirlpool Corporation, the parent company of the KitchenAid brand. “As a brand built by women and that stands for creating possibility in the kitchen, we can’t stand for inequalities any longer. And now as restaurants fight to reopen after a terrible pandemic forced their doors shut, they need our support more than ever.”
Since KitchenAid was founded, women have defined and shaped the brand. Women named the brand, sold the products door to door, and a woman by the name of Josephine Cochrane invented the commercial dishwasher that KitchenAid first introduced to the market.
“There is so much authenticity in this project,” said Zehtabchi, “A Woman’s Place” director. “You watch it and you walk away from it and it feels honest and real. It’s cinematic and beautiful and the interviews are thoughtfully crafted. It comes straight from our subjects.” Vox Media enrolled Epic Digital, a team of story hunters acquired by Vox Media in 2019, to uncover the stories of the women featured in the film.
The documentary will stream on-demand exclusively on Hulu. Hulu subscribers can visit the “Women’s Equality” collection on the platform to watch the film alongside a collection of more than 50 TV shows and movies that honor diverse women trailblazers in their field and reflect on progress made in the fight for equality for all women.